Tamil Nadu Cuisine
Tamil Nadu, the land of the Tamils, was dominated by the Dravidian culture for 2500 years. The cuisine is distinctly different from that of the north, and is based primarily on rice rather than wheat and an abundant use of coconut. With a largely vegetarian population like much of India, Tamil Nadu has a particularly elaborate vegetarian cuisine. The classic foods of Tamil Nadu center around rice and lentils. Famous throughout India, and, increasingly, in the rest of the world, idli and dosa are both made from a fermented batter of ground rice and lentils. For idli, the batter is steamed into small puffy disks while dosa batter is spread thinly on a griddle and cooked into a crispy pancake. Both dishes are traditionally eaten with coconut chutney and sambar, a thick soup of lentils, tamarind and vegetables.
Traditional Tamil cuisine is cooked right out of the household garden with almost every ingredient grown or produced in the village. When a particular vegetable is ready for harvest, the cooks in the household employ a great variety of ways to serve it. Local vegetables include familiar ones like eggplant, tomato, and okra and more unusual varieties, like drumstick, the pods of a large tree, and bitter gourd, a member of the cucumber family with healthful properties. Unripe fruits such as the banana and mango are often cooked as vegetables in Tamil cuisine. There are a variety of highly localized herbs and vegetables that have no English names such as the manatakali, a small berry from the nightshade family. In keeping with the predominant status of rice, there are dozens of different named varieties in the markets, such as ponni, nellore, sona and masoor.
Tamil Nadu, the land of the Tamils, was dominated by the Dravidian culture for 2500 years. The cuisine is distinctly different from that of the north, and is based primarily on rice rather than wheat and an abundant use of coconut. With a largely vegetarian population like much of India, Tamil Na...Read More
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