South Indian Dishes You Must Try

Different regions of India have their own specialty be it in language, dressing sense, traditions, rituals or food. Food which not only fills our stomach but fills our soul. Good food is weakness of many. Chef Cesar Chavez once said” If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” Indeed it is so true like when we bond with someone to show love and respect we invite them over for a lunch or dinner with us. As people are tend to bond over food. There is variety of flavors and dishes that makes the country unique. As said “Variety is the spice of life” lets tour the southern part of the nation and see what they have for us on their platter.

Traditional Sweet Dishes

South India is known for its serener beauty, temples, lush greenery, ancient temple, education and yes more importantly food. It is much more to offer than Idli, Dosa and Sambhar. South Indian food is just a treat to the senses. The food here is not just tasty and appetizing it is considered healthy and complete diet food as well. There are five states in South India namely: Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. There are some similarities in these states cuisine as they all include rice as staple food, lentils and spices but what differs them is the spiciness of the food. Let the search begin:

Mysore Pak

As the name suggested was invented in the city Mysore of state Karnataka. It was invented in the year 1935 at Mysore royal palace by the head chef Kakasura Madappa. It is the king of sweets in South. It is made of ghee, gram flour and sugar. Its texture is so soft and buttery that it melts in mouth. Tastes best when served after cool down.


This is the sweet dish of state Tamil Nadu and there is a festival also of this name which symbolizes the end of harvest season, the dish got its name from there only. It is also known as Huggi. It is made from rice, milk, jiggery and coconut. There can be many variants of this but mainly it is of two types: Chakarai Pongal which is sweet made with milk and another one is Venn Pongal made with clarified butter. The earlier one is made during the festival Pongal and later one is a common breakfast food.


This dish is one of the popular dishes of South India. It is also known as “Puliyogare”. As the name spells “puli means sour in south Indian language”. It is a rice dish consisting of tamarind, curry leaves, green chilies, coriander and mustard seeds which add flavors in the dish. Tamarind is added in the dish to add the tangy flavor in the dish. It is usually served with dried chilies and curd. It is also used as Prasadam in some temples. This yummy dish is known with different names in these five states but the taste is refreshing as all ways.


It is a famous dish of Kerala. It is a type of pancake made with batter of fermented rice and coconut milk. It is usually preferred in either breakfast or dinner.  Coconut is the star of the dish. Tastes best when served hot with Kurma or coconut milk.

Chicken 65

It is a heaven for non-vegetarians. It consists of deep –fried chicken marinated with red chili, ginger, lemon and other spices. It is prepared using bone less chicken. It was invented from Hotel Buhari, Chennai. There are various theories about its invention some say 65 chili peppers were used in it, others say 65 pieces of chicken is used and a few says the chicken was 65 days old when used to prepared. The flavor of the dish is due to red chili rest other recipe can vary from region to region. At some places it is garnished with coconut and at some instead of deep frying chicken are cooked different regions different techniques. 

Hyderabadi Biryani

Hyderabadi biryani is a type of biryani from Hyderabad. It is different from all other biryanis due to its method of cooking. It is prepared from rice using Dum method. This dish consists of basmati rice, mutton or chicken, lemon, curd, onions and saffron. It gets its flavor due to dum method in which uncooked rice and uncooked meat are together cooked with spices. Tastes best when served hot. This mouth –watering dish is a must try in Hyderabad the places of Nizam.


It is a popular dish in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It is a steamed rice cake. It is cylindrical in shape. It is made using rice flour and coconut. It tastes best when served with chickpea curry or fruits like banana or mango.


Rasam is an appealing dish not only in taste but it has some health benefits too to offer.  It is made from tomatoes, tamarind and black pepper and other spices for seasoning which are good for digestive system. It is a type of soup. It can be very beneficial if taken in sore throat and cold.


Crispy vada is a fried snack. This dish is made using different lentils like: pigeon pea, chicken pea, mung etc. and according to their paste they are named so like: Medu Vada (black lentils), Masala Vada (Toor Dal), and Keera Vada (spinach). Vegetables and ingredients are added to add taste and nutrition value. Mostly served with sambhar or coconut chutney. Taste best when served hot and crispy.


It is also known as “puddu, appe, guliappa”. It is made from a batter of black lentils and rice. This dish is made by steaming batter using a mould. The dish can be made either sweet or spicy depends upon ingredients. It is usually preferred in breakfast.


It is one of the most common Tamil breakfasts. It is prepared using dry-roasted semolina or coarse rice flour. It is considered a healthy breakfast. Various seasoning or vegetables can be added according to the preferences. It has porridge like texture. There are now various variants of it but all of them are enjoyable to eat.

Pazham Pori

They are also known as ripe banana fritters. It is famous dish of Kerala. It is made from ripe banana, rice flour, sugar and maida and then deep fried in oil until golden brown. It is crispy outside juicy inside. Served hot with milk or coffee. In Tamil Nadu it is known as Balekayi bajji.

Masala Dosa

South Indian cuisine is incomplete without Masala dosa. It is made from the batter of rice and lentils. It is round in shape baked on the pan with oil to make it crispy. It is stuffed with potatoes paste seasoned with onions, mustard seeds, curry leaves, chilies. It has many variants. Masala dosa is itself a variant of plain dosa. Tastes best when served hot with sambhar and chutney.

Fish Molee

It is not an ordinary fish curry. It is the authentic dish of Kerala. Made with coconut milk, dried fish and all other spices. In this recipe fish dominates the taste. This stew has a history of its influence from Portuguese. Served with appam or rice. It is a scrumptious dish for fish lovers.

Kerala Prawn Curry

This dish is fit to be the king of all dishes in Kerala. It is also known as shrimp curry. This curry is a dish from Malabar region of the state. It is made from marinated prawns, coconut milk, raw mangoes, chili, black pepper and salt. The tangy and spicy flavor it has got is due to the spices. Served with appam or rice. If you have a guilty pleasure for extra spices then it’s your dish go for it and enjoy this wonderful curry.

This list can go on and on. South Indian dishes have gained immense popularity in the world due to their taste and nutrition values. So next time if you want to pamper your taste buds, you know what to look for.

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