Tamil cuisine features non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes. Tamil Nadu is home to paddy crop. Hence rice is the staple for Tamilians. Common elements of Tamil cuisine are lentils and rice. There are sub-varieties of the cuisine which includes Kongunad cuisine, Chettinad cuisine, Tirunelvelispecial, Nanjilnad cuisine and many more.
Here a few samples of Tamil cuisine which originate from the villages:
It is a popular and delicious dish. It is served with rice in a typical Tamil meal. Main ingredients are Turkey berry, small onions and tamarind. A little amount of jaggery provides a sweet, mild taste. Thus this dish has equal elements of sourness, hotness and sweetness. After preparing the dish, it is kept covered for several hours which will enhance its taste. This dish is an inevitable part of a full- fledged Tamil meal.
- Vegetarian fish curry
This ‘fish” curry is in fact, only vegetarian. Patties of cowpea are fried and combined into the gravy. It totally resembles a fish curry from South India. You will think that it has chunks of fish, until you actually consume it. Cowpea is soaked overnight and ground with masalas to form a thick paste and spread on banana leaves after which it is steamed. They are sliced into pieces, fried and combined into the gravy which gives a great flavour.
- Ulundhu Kali
It is a popular, healthy dish. It has a sweet flavour being made of cardamom powder, palm iaggery and Urad dhal. It is rich in iron and good for bones. It is very popular in villages, especially as tonic for women.
It is a tasty and divine concoction made of long pepper. This recipe contains toor dal, tomatoes, as well as homemade masalas. Masala is made of coriander seeds, pepper, dry chillies and cumin seeds. This dish is like soup. You can either drink it or consume it with rice. This preparation has been found to be a tonic for fever, indigestion, cough, diabetes and diarrhoea.
- Chettinad Mutton Kulambu
Kulambu refers to gravy in Tamil. Pieces of mutton are cooked in thick gravy based in Masala. The secret trick is to get the amount of masalas in the right way. Masala paste provides the complete flavour.
It is a soft-beverage of Tamil Nadu. It is very delicious and is a great thirst quencher. It is very healthy containing lots of iron and gives instant energy. Dry ginger, cardamom, lemon and jaggery are the main ingredients. It is popular during festivals
It is chutney made of lentils. Coconut, Toor dal, tamarind and red chillies (dried) are dry roasted and ground together to create a paste. Can be served along with rice, dosa and idly.
This is a recipe from Chettinad. It has an excellent semi-sweet taste. In this recipe, sugar, urad dal, milk and rice are ground jointly to create a paste. Shape it into small balls and fry in oil. It is served along with chutney of red chili.
- Chicken curry
It is a delicious aromatic dish containing masalas like ginger, red chilli, fennel seeds, garlic, coconut and pepper. The masala is mixed with tomatoes, onion, and chicken after which it is fried well. Serve with rice and chapattis.
These are some excellent dishes from Tamil Nadu.