Tamil Nadu Cuisine – Top 10 Picks

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Written By Santana

Unveiling India's Treasures from the eyes of an insightful author

Tamil Nadu Cuisine: Tamil Nadu cuisine is revered and loved by people across the country. If you are a South Indian food lover, Tamil Nadu will provide you with a few of the best South Indian cuisine delights.

Before we go on to know further about Tamil cuisine, it is essential to mention that every South Indian state has its culinary delights, and it is not correct to label them entirely together as South Indian cuisine.

Here are our top ten picks from the Tamil cuisine-

01. Dosa

Dosas are famous all over the country. It is made with a batter, a mixture of urad dal paste and rice paste. This paste is spread over a flat pan and cooked mildly like thin paper. Dosa is served with chutney and sambar.

There are wide varieties of doses like plain Dosa, Rawa dosa, onion dosa, masala dosa, egg dosa, tomato dosa, and many more. The best places to have Dosa in Chennai are-

  • The Vrindavan Restaurant, Mylapore
  • Hotel Palmgrove, Nungambakkam
  • Ratna Café, Triplicane
  • Hotel Saravana Bhavan
Tamil Nadu cuisine
Traditional South Indian snacks, Dosa, idli, medu vada on a banana leaf.

02. Idli And Medu Vada

Idli and Vadas are the most commonly served healthy snacks in Tamil Nadu. Idli is made with a mixture of urad dal and rice paste. These are steamed, spongy, small, and pancake-like.

On the other hand, Vada is prepared with Fermented Bengal gram mixed with curry leaf, mustard seed, and cumin seed or powder. Vada is deep-fried. It is best served with coconut chutney and sambhar.

Menu Vada is made by grinding split black gram. Ginger, onion, green chili and pepper are added to increase the taste of the vada. Best places to have perfectly made Idlis and Vadas are-

  • Murugan Idli Shop
  • Idli Xpress
  • Kozhi Idli
  • Idli Factory
Tamil Nadu cuisine

03. Pongal

Pongal is a signature Tamil Nadu dish prepared during every auspicious festival. It is made with rice-sweetened milk cardamom, green gram raisins, cashew nuts, etc.

According to folklore, Pongal is cooked in the open to let sunlight fall on it as it is dedicated to the sun god. Pongal is cooked in a colorful clay pot decorated with beautiful patterns called Kolam. Pongal is a household dish made during festivities.

Tamil Nadu cuisine
South Indian food Pongal on a banana leaf with a side dish

04. Uttapam

Uttapam is another signature dish of Tamil Nadu. It is made with ground paste of Urad dal and rice. This paste is fermented and then cooked with a mild oil.

Uttapam is flat at the sides like a Dosa and soft and fluffy like idli in the middle. Uttapam is then garnished with toppings of tomato, capsicum, onions. It is best served with spicy coconut chutney. The best places in Tamil Nadu to savor on Uttapam are-

  • Murugan Idli Shop
  • Hotel Saravana Bhavan

05. Rasam

An appetizer with soup-like consistency, rasam has a burst of flavors. It has a tamarind base. Tomatoes, cumin seeds, and pepper is added to it.

There are other varieties of Rasam like Jaggery Rasam, Carrot Rasam, Ginger Rasam, etc. Rasam is made regularly at the households in Tamil Nadu.

06. Filter Kaapi

Filter Kaapi basically means Filter Coffee. It is made from frothed milk brewed with coffee powder in an Indian filter. The beverage is very popular in cities like Chennai and Kumbakonam, where it is referred to as ‘Kumbakonam Degree Coffee.

Filter Kaapi is served in two cylindrical cups. The upper cup serves the foamed coffee, which is then poured into another cup known as Dabarah so that the ingredients are well mixed and cool down, making it easy to sip. The best places to sip a Filter Kaapi is-

  • Mathsya, Egmore
  • Madras Coffee House

07. Sambhar

Sambhar is another authentic Tamil Nadu delicacy. It is made with mashed toor dal and cooked with freshly chopped onions, grated coconut, tamarind water, and some vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, papaya, etc.

Seasoning like fried mustard seeds, asafoetida, dry red chilies, fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves added. It is best served with idli, Dosa, and plain white rice. Sambhar is another regular household dish of Tamil Nadu.

08. Murukku

Murukku is savored with tea. This snack is made by a mixture of rice flour and urad dal with water, salt, and cumin seeds. It is then fried in oil. There are a lot of regional varieties of the snack.

09. Lemon Rice

Lemon rice is quick to prepare the dish with oodles of flavor popping in your mouth. Cooked rice is used to make the dish w, making it easy to avoid wastage of rice.

Lemon juice, onions, tomatoes, chili, salt, curry leaf is added to the cooked rice. You can also add some groundnuts. It is best served with chutney or vegetable salad.

10. Chicken 65

Chicken 65 is an authentic Chennai recipe. It is a deep-fried chicken snack. There is also a gravy variant to the recipe. The chicken pieces are marinated in red chili powder, spices, herbs, and salt and then fried in oil, giving it a crispy flavor. Yogurt and cornflour are also used at times.

The best places to have this lip-smacking dish are-

  • Aathi Rajam Chicken 65 Centre, Chennai.
  • Buhari Restaurant, Mount Road.
  • Zaitoon Restaurant, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Chennai.
  • Sea Shell family restaurant, Greams Road, Chennai.

Tamil Nadu cuisine has a plethora of scrumptious dishes. The versatility of Tamil cuisine reflects the incredible culture of the state. When in Tamil Nadu, do not miss out on these delicacies.

Also Read :

  1. The cuisine of West Bengal
  2. Zaeke-e-Kashmir or Kashmiri Cuisine
  3. History food Junctions of Modern India: Delhi

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