Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu — Has a distinct place in the culinary map of the country having a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies to offer. The important ingredients in Tamil cuisine are red chillies, turmeric, tamarind, fresh coconut and a whiff of asafoetida. Coconut or gingelly oil is normally used as a medium of cooking, Tiffins or a light meal is very popular and a part of the Tamil Cuisine which is usually served for breakfast or as an evening snack. Tiffins are served steaming hot like Dosas. Idli, Upma. Vada, Uttappam and Pongal accompanied with Sambar, Coconut chutney and Milagai podi are mouth watering and light to eat. The tiffin is accompanied by a steaming hot filter Coffee, which is an authentic signature beverage of the Tamil Cuisine.Rice is the staple food of the South India, where lunch and dinner is served with rice accompanied with a variety of Poriyals (curries), Avial, Kootu, Kozhambu (stews),  Sambar, Rasam and Thayir ( means the Curd or Yoghurt )Chettinad cuisine is very special in Tamil Nadu and hails from the deep southern region of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the spiciest, oiliest and most aromatic cuisines in India and is famous throughout the country. Some of the popular dishes of the Chettinad menu are Varuval — which is a dry dish fried with onions and spices (sautéed with chicken , fish or vegetables), Pepper Chicken, Poriyal — a curry and Kuzambu — ingredients stewed in a gravy of fresh coconut milk and spices. The Tamil style of Mughalai food can be tasted in Biryani and payaa. Payaa is a kind of spiced broth eaten with Parathas and Appam.A Tamilian meal is called the ‘Sappadu’ means a full course meal, which can be either lunch or dinner. An authentic tamil cuisine is served in a banana leaf and is to being eaten with hands. A typical tamilian would enjoy to eat in banana leaf as it gives different flavors and taste to the food. But after modernization, the food is also served on a stainless steel plate with varied types of curries served in small bowls.In one of my visits to Tamil Nadu, I had attended an actual authentic typical Tamil feast which is commonly called as “Virundu Sappadu” which is served in a very customised way on the banana leaf. The top half of the banana leaf is served with a range of curries  and the lower half for the rice as it’s the staple food of South Indians. The lower right portion of the leaf is served with a scoop of warm sweet milky rice called Payasam, Kesari, Sweet Pongal or any Dessert items. While the top left includes a pinch of salt, a dash of pickle or chutney. And the middle of the leaf, fried items like chips made of banana, yam, potato, crispy papads called Appalams and vadai.I  got to know about the vegetarian meal where the vegetables are selectively chosen between the gourds, drumsticks, brinjals, carrots, cabbage, french beans or cauliflower and for non-vegetarians, a separate leaf is provided for fried meats, chicken, fish, crab etc. Fish is an integral part of the menu in most parts of the coastal region of Tamil Nadu and the availability of coconut and coconut oil forms a base for almost all the preparations of the region.Paayasam is usually served at the end as a sweet/dessert to finish the meal.Finally the virundu sappadu ended by serving a banana, beeda, and a glass burttermilk. Vah! This was one of the sumptuous, delectable and yummy Virundu Sappadu.Savories are also one of the important dishes usually prepared during festivites. Some of the popular savories are Murukkus, Chedai (crunchy crispies made of rice flour) etc which are normally served as snacks. Interestingly it is also said from the olden days that if the savories are eaten, than the gums would get stronger.Tamil cuisine has an umpteen variety of Payasams prepared with Rice, Semiya, Dal, Milk, Sugar or Jaggery. Every festival in Tamil Nadu has an unique preparation of sweets offered to the God. Sweets like Sweet Pongal, Mysore pak, Adhirasam, Coconut Burfi etc are some of the popular yummy sweets of Tamil Cuisine.