Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Growing Popularity of South Indian Cuisines in Delhi

                          Idli Sambar

The city of Delhi is a melting pot of many cultures and cuisines. It has over the years, absorbed the culture and traditions of many settlers and visitors from around the world. The emperors, nobles, kings, royalty and elite people have always promoted and encouraged the growth of various types of cuisine by giving it generous patronage over the years. Today, cuisines from all across India can be found in Delhi which is currently the capital of India. A cosmopolitan city in which people are open to new ideas and lifestyles ensure that the city has a rich and diverse base of cuisines as well. In addition, Delhi has served as a host to not just people from outside but for within the country as well. People from various places of the country be it the north-east, south or west have come to Delhi and gradually made it their home. Further, their culture and cuisines have greatly influenced the overall lifestyle and culture of Delhi. This is true for South Indian cuisines which has grown to become very popular and accepted form of cuisine in the city. Featuring dishes from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, South Indian cuisine is gaining immense popularity not just in Delhi but in the NCR regions of Gurgaon and NOIDA as well. 
South India cuisine is a mix between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. As these regions are coastal in nature, they have a hot and humid climate meaning they have a steady supply of rice, fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition, these areas are also known for their use of coconuts, spices and a huge range of seafood which forms an integral part of their diet. Tamil Nadu is known for its Chettinand cuisine which is extremely hot spicy and flavorsome. The dishes in this cuisine are hot and pungent, made by using fresh ground masalas and a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables. The meat is restricted to restricted to fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken and lamb as Chettiars do not eat beef and pork.

Kerala is popular for its Malabari cooking, with Kozhikode and Thalassery considered as the centre of this cuisine. Influenced by various cultures and flavors of Arab, Brahmin, Zamorin and Chirakkal cuisines, Malabar cuisines is distinctive and has a mix of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. As Hyderabad is the home to the Nizams (rulers of Hyderabad), its food is rich and flavorful with a range of taste from spicy to sour to sweet. Hyderabadi cuisine is full of nuts, dried fruits and exotic, expensive spices like saffron. Hence by and large South Indian cuisine is a good mix between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and is generally centered around rice. Rice is combined with other dishes which include authentic sambar (a soup-like lentil dish tempered with whole spices and chillies) and rasam (a hot-sour soup like lentil dish), dry and curried vegetables and meat dishes and a host of coconut-based chutneys and pompadours (deep-fried crispy lentil pancakes). In addition, South Indians are great lovers of filter coffee, which is now available in a number of South Indian vegetarian dining restaurants as well. 

With a rich variety and flavorsome dishes, it is no wonder that almost all sections of people in Delhi have own to like south Indian cuisines. This is also evident from the growing popularity of South Indian Vegetarian dining restaurants that are now spread across the city and which serve authentic South Indian food in a pleasant and comfortable environment, that are at par with international standards. 


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