7 Popular South Indian Cuisines We Need To Try More Often

South Indian cuisine is about more than dosas, idlis, and vadas. Here we’re going to look at some other popular and unique cuisines from down South.

Chettinad Cuisine

Spicy, Aromatic, Flavourful!

Chettinad cuisine finds its roots in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu.

Renowned for using freshly ground masalas and a unique blend of spices, it is a cuisine of the Nattukotai Chettiars or Nagarathars community. Around 18 spices are used in their special spice mix which makes this cuisine unique and tasty.

Must-try dishes: Chettinad chicken, idiyappam, cabbage poriyal, paal payasam.

Malabar Cuisine 

This cuisine spans from the Kasargod region to the Malappuram region in Kerala. It is a combination of the Zamorin, Arabia, and Chirakkal styles of preparing food. Pepper is a key ingredient of this fascinating cuisine.

Must-try dishes: Puttu and kadala curry, thalaserry biryani, chicken dry fry Malabar style, thattu dosa.

Kodava Cuisine

Heaven for non-veg lovers!

Kodava cuisine is the cuisine of Coorg, also known as the Scotland of India. With heavy usage of spices and coconuts, Kodava cuisine is spicy yet delicious in taste. Other hallmark ingredients that make this cuisine special are wild mushrooms, stems of plants, and ferns.

Must-try dishes: Bamboo shoot curry, kadambuttu, pandi curry, koovaleputtu.

Udupi Cuisine

Udupi cuisine, an important part of Tuluva-Mangalorean cuisine, is named after Udupi, a city of India in the Tulunadu. Strictly vegetarian, this cuisine’s hallmarks are legumes, whole grains, seasonal fruits, and vegetables.

Must-try dishes: Goli baje, pelakai halwa, bissi bele bhath, udupi style sambhar.

Nizami Cuisine 

Royal and rich in flavors!

Influenced by the royal nizams of Hyderabad, this cuisine is famous for its naans, kebabs, and biryanis. Cashews and spices like Patthar ka Phool are some of the important ingredients used in a Nizami daawat.

Must-Try Dishes: Chicken nizami, patthar ka gosht, dum ki bhindi, khageena, sheer khurma

Mappila Cuisine

A fascinating blend of Kerala food and Arab food culture!

Derived from the Mapilla culture in kerala, this lesser-known cuisine uses various spices, coconut, rice, banana, kootans (yogurt-based gravies), and pathiris. Most of the dishes are made in ghee, which is heavily inspired by Arab food.

Must-try dishes: Chemeen porichathu, Alisa, tellicherry biryani

Malenadu Cuisine

Fresh, locally prepared, unique!

One of the oldest cuisines of Karnataka, this underrated cuisine is known for using fresh and unique ingredients like Bamboo shoots, ajwain leaves (Indian borage), colocasia leaves, and brahmi leaves in cooking.

A staple meal is incomplete without rice, chutneys, and pickles.

Must-try dishes: Benne kadabu, pulimunchi, sihi kadubu, akki roti.

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