Delicacies of Tamil Nadu Food that You Must Try!



The state of Tamil Nadu has truly a plethora to offer, prominent amongst which is the cuisine and dishes of Tamil Nadu. A haven for food connoisseurs, the state has defined the South Indian style of preparation. Rice, coconut oil, curry leaves, and a variety of spices are the ingredients that are added to almost every dish here. Worthy to mention is the delectable seafood the coastal state naturally offers. Tamil Nadu food has myriad dishes for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It is a delight that you must experience and so here is a list of some of the most heavenly dishes of the place.

1. Idli

Image – Chintan Buch/Flickr

The simplistic idli is the first meal that comes to mind when one thinks of a South Indian breakfast. For the unknowing, this is a delicious rice cake is made by steaming a fermented blend of rice and legumes. They also widely made of semolina. Some say that there are more than 1,000 distinct versions of idlis made to taste for every other individual. This dish is so famous that every year on March 30th, World Idli Day, is commemorated. Over time, it has transitioned into comfort food for many. Whether you’re sick or simply want to have something light, idlis with sambhar and chutneys are always a great idea. It provides a large amount of protein, fibre and carbs. The iron content is also sufficient for a well-balanced diet.

2. Sambhar

Image – Charles Haynes/Flickr

When talking about the cuisine of South India or Tamil Nadu, if the first thing that makes to your mind if the delicious bowl of sambhar, then you’re not alone for this is a dish that is a staple of every household in the state and can be eaten by any native for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The key differentiator between sambhar and dal is the vibrant spices and myriad vegetables that are used in the preparation of this spicy, sour delight.

3. Medu Vada

Delicacies of Tamil Nadu Food - Medu Vada

A savory donut that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside sounds like a dream come true and that’s exactly what a medu vada is. This fritter is typically consumed throughout Tamil Nadu either as a breakfast or evening snack. Sambhar and Tamil Nadu’s coconut chutney pair best with this delectable snack. For all chaat lovers out there, this medu vada with yogurt is something that you simply must try. A trip to Tamil Nadu isn’t complete unless you try the state’s medu vada.

4. Pongal

Delicacies of Tamil Nadu Food-Pongal

There isn’t a festival or a celebration in Tamil Nadu that isn’t graced with the sweet dish of Pongal, after all, it’s very own namesake holds such prominence in the state. This dish is cooked with rice and sweet milk, whose flavor is just enhanced by adding cardamom and dry fruits such as cashew nuts and raisins. Apart from its usual sweet form, Pongal can also be served savory occasionally. A staple of the state, this dish will instantly brighten your day.

5. Poriyal

Delicacies of Tamil Nadu Food-Poriyal

In Tamil, Poriyal refers to a sautéed or fried vegetable dish. It is a very popular side dish in the state that is typically served alongside a three-course meal. This dish, as previously mentioned, is made using vegetables. Additionally, there are two main varieties of this dish that exist: the potato Poriyal and the bean Poriyal. Lentils are also often added to enhance the taste of this already flavorful dish which is fried in a variety of spices.

6. Banana Bonda

Image – Yarl Tamil Kitchen/FB

The creativity of Tamil Nadu is amazingly reflected in its food. An apt example of this is the banana bonda. Now, upon reading the word ‘bonda’, the first thing that comes to your mind is the potato stuffed savory balls that we all know and love. But what if I told you that instead of the usual, the stuffing is made from bananas and the bonda is sweet? On would naturally be shocked but that’s just what you get from Tamil Nadu.

7. Chicken Chettinad

Dishes of Tamil Nadu Food-Chicken Chettinad
Image/Michelle Peters Jones/Flickr

This flavorful recipe of Tamil Nadu is a spin on the Chettinad cuisine and is prepared by marinating the chicken prior in a batter of turmeric, yogurt, and countless spices such as cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and, coconut, just to name a few. This is a truly delicious dish, a specialty of which has to be its rich gravy. This is the main course dish that is served with either rice or bread and is a must-try if visiting Tamil Nadu.

8. Paruppu Payasam

Dishes of Tamil Nadu Food-Payasam

The Paruppu Payasam or as commonly referred to as the moong dal payasam is a delicious dessert of the state and is extremely popular among the inhabitants. This payasam is prepared primarily using, of course, moong dal along with jaggery to add a little sweet, coconut milk continuing with the prevalence of utilizing coconut in the cuisine along with ghee and cashew nuts. A noteworthy thing about this dish is the aroma that it produces which is arguably as mesmerizing as the taste of the dish itself.

9. Pollachi Nandu Fry

Image – Southern Indian Cuisine/FB

As aforementioned in the very beginning of this article, Tamil Nadu being a coastal state is renowned for its seafood. That is further proven by this delectable dish, the Pollachi Nandu Crab Fry. When describing this dish, the word that comes to mind is flavorful because of its strong and rich taste and aroma. This is made using coconut milk and of course, masala as well as gingelly oil. It goes well with rice as well as chapati and dosa. Your trip to Tamil Nadu isn’t complete unless you experience the wonders of this dish yourself.

10. Dosa

Image – Matthew Stevens/Flickr

We began with one of the most popular dishes of Tamil Nadu, sambhar. Therefore, it feels only appropriate to end with another such dish that is dosa. Popular, not only in the state, not only in the country but throughout the world, this is a dish cherished by the people of this state. It is similar to a crepe but its batter is predominantly made from rice and lentils. They are served alongside sambhar as well as a variety of chutneys. Today, this dish has countless variations, all ever so delicious.

The vibrant cuisine of Tamil Nadu is just mesmerizing. The versatility, the uniqueness, the style of cooking, and the impeccable taste are what makes it one of the finest cuisines on the planet and it is precisely that leads to the belief that everyone should try out these dishes because if you don’t, you have no idea what you are missing out on. Can’t travel to Tamil Nadu, well, you need not worry because all these dishes are fairly simple to make as well and so, what are you waiting for, get your aprons and happy cooking!

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