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South Indian cuisine is rice based. Rice is combined with lentils to make wonderful dosas, idlis, vadas and uttapams. These items are glorious and delicious besides being nourishing and digestible (due to the fermenting process). They are combined with sambhar (dal), rasam (tamarind dal), dry and curried vegetable and pachadi (yogurt).

Their rice preparations are also masterpieces like biryani from Hyderabad, lemon rice and rice seasoned with coconut, peanuts, tamarind, chilies, curry leaves, urad dal and fenugreek seeds. Coconut water straight from the nut is a common beverage and sight in South India. Coffee is very popular in South India and Madras coffee is popular in South Indian restaurants throughout the world. The South Indian food is a brilliant blend of flavors, colors, seasoning, nutritional balance, fragrance, taste, and visual appeal.

After having worked through the preliminaries, the long haul starts with the nee, which is generously doused with ghee. Sambhar, the highly spiced da/-based dish containing whatever appropriate vegetable there is in season, follows and this is succeeded by rasam. After a final round of rice and curds, or buttermilk or both, a traditional meal concludes with a small banana, a few betel leaves and nuts.


Rice is the staple food and is divided into the following categories. Rice are of 3 basic category:

  •   Long White Grain Rice - most commonly used
  •   Short Grain Rice - used to make sweet dishes
  •   Round Grain Rice


Sweet in Ayurveda is considered to be an appetite builder. Taking its cues from Ayurveda the South Indian meal would generally begin with e-ne-ip-pu or sweet It may consist of the popular Mysore Pak ( Gram Flour Fudge).

Then comes three courses of rice

Rice with sambhar. There are many forms of rice - such as the plain rice- ghee- boiled

  •   Rice with sambhar. There are many forms of rice - such as the plain rice- ghee- boiled lentil (sadam - neai- paruppu). coconut rice (thengai sadaam), lemon rice (ellimbichai sadaam), tamarind rice (puliypdarai).
  •   Rice with Rasam - Rasam is a tangy, spicy, watery and soupy tamarind concoction which is served with rice
  •   Yogurt with rice (thayir sadaam). This is served last to cool the mouth and the digestive system. It may be served with non spicy assorted vegetable dishes, namely the aviyal (mixed vegetable stew), kari (dry masala vegetables) & kootu (coconut & vegetable saute which are not too wet and not too dry).
  •   Finally the palpayasam (milk sweet) a dessert is served.

After the-meal. paan or betel leaf & betelnut (vetrielai & paku). which freshens the mouth and aids in digestion.

After the-meal. paan or betel leaf & betelnut (vetrielai & paku). which freshens the mouth and aids in digestion.

Andhra Food

The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh is reputedly the spiciest and hottest of all Indian cuisines. Aridhra has two cuisines: the Andhra Mughlai which evolved in the qity of Hyderabad - a cuisine rich and aromatic with its delicious kebabs, biryani and salans flavoured with exotic spices, nuts and dry fruits; and the cuisine of Telengana. where red hot chilies and tamarind flavour the pulihoras (pulao), dhapalam (vegetable curry) and pulisus (dal) that are eaten with the spicy gongura (leaf of the rozelle plant) chutney. Telengana food also has some excellent non-vegetarian delicacies such as mutton or chicken cooked with drumsticks.

Hyderabad Food is a direct result from the kitchens of the Nizams or Muslim rulers. The Hyderabadi cuisine is the amalgamation of Muslim techniques and meats with the vibrant spices and ingredients of the predominantly local Hindu people. Hydrabadi cuisine is the ultimate in fine dining. Its tastes range.from sour and the sweet, the hot and the salty and is studded with dry fruits and nuts. One of India finest foods, the biryani or rice with meats and brinjal (or eggplant) or baghare baiganis are the jewels of Hyderabadi cooking.

Tamil Nadu Food

The state of Tamil Nadu has a distinct place in the culinary map of the country It has a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies to offer. In Tamil cuisine, red chilies. turmeric, tamarind and a whiff of asafetida are important ingredients. Coconut or gingelly oil is normally used as a medium of cooking, Besides the popular tiffin items like dosa. idli, uppuma.vada, sambar; other mouth watering dishes include the varieties of kozhambu (stews) and rasam, the various ways of cooking rice, koothu, poriyal, avial; and desserts such as payassam and mysore pak. Chettinad cuisine is particularly famous throughout the country.

Chettinad cuisine hails from the deep southern region of Tamil Nadu. Chettinad cuisine is a far cry from the bland cuisine of traditional Tamilian Brahmins - it is one of the spiciest, oiliest and most aromatic in India.

Some of the popular dishes in Chettinad menu are varuval - a dry dish fried with onions and spices (chicken, fish or vegetables sauteed). pepper chicken, poriyal - a curry, and kuzambu which has the ingredients stewed in a gravy of coconut milk and spices In the same range, one can include the numerous pickles, powders, specially roasted and ground spices, dry snacks, papads. appalam and vada. Numerous shops now sell pre-packed snacks like murukkus, small spirals of fried rice dough, chips and other snacks like thattai. masala vada and so on.

The Tamil variation of Mughlai food can be savored in the biryani and paya The latter is a kind of spiced tror,ter broth and is eaten with either parathas or appam. Tamil Nadu is famous for its filter coffee as most Tamils have a subtle contempt for instant coffee. The making of filter coffee is almost a ritual, for the coffee beans have to be roasted and ground. Then the powder is put into a filter set and boiling hot water is added to prepare the decoction and allowed to set for about 15 minutes. The decoction is then added to milk with sugar to taste. The final drink is poured individually from one container to another in rapid succession to make the ideal frothy cup of filter coffee.

Kerala Food

The cuisine of Kerala is linked in all its richness to the history, geography and culture of the land. Most of the non-vegetarian dishes are spicy. Pachakam is a Malayalam word that means cooking food or meal.

Kerala is known for its traditional sadhyas. a vegetarian meal served with boiled rice and a host of side-dishes. The sadhya is complemented by the payasam, a sweet milk dessert native to Kerala The sadhya is, as per custom, served on a banana leaf. Traditional food items include sambar, aviyal, kaalan, theeyal, thoran, injipully, pulisherry, appam . kappa (tapioca), puttu (steam cake), and puzhukku. Coconut is an essential ingredient in most of the food items and is liberally used The culinary skills of the different communities of Kerala make the dishes distinct in taste ai.J in variety. Almost every dish that is prepared in the Kerala style has coconut and spices added to it The main spices used are cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, green and red peppers, cloves, garlic, cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric, etc. Spices are used in Kerala to tone up the system the way wines aid the digestion of Western cuisine The vegetarian food includes sambar, rasam, olan, kaalan. pachadi. kichadi, aviyal, thoran. etc. The main food item is served with rice and at the end of each meal the dessert, payasam. is served. Payasam is prepared from milk, coconut extract, sugar, cashews, dry grapes, etc. Paal payasam is the speciality.

The Kerala porotta is a flatbread that is served with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes A typical Kerala breakfast may be puttu, which is rice powder and grated coconut steam cooked together, idli and sambar. dosa and chutney, idiyapparr) (string hoppers - also known as Noolputtu), or appam, a kind of pancake made of rice flour fermented with a small amount of toddy (fermented sap of the coconut palm) which is circular in shape, edged with a crisp lacy frill. It is eaten with chicken or vegetable stew.

Kerala cuisine also has a variety of pickles and chutneys, and crunchy pappadums, banana chips, jackfruit chips, kozhalappam, achappam, cheeda, and churuttu. Kanji (rice congee) and payaru (mung bean), kappa (tapioca) and fish curry are traditional favourites of Keralites.

Arab influence: Some of the delicacies of the Mappilas of Kerala are influenced by the Arab influence that began in the 7th century.

  •   Pathiri is a sort of pancake made of rice flour. The word Pathiri has its origin traced to the Arabic word fateerah meaning "pastry".
  •   Rice with Rasam - Rasam is a tangy, spicy, watery and soupy tamarind concoction which is served with rice
  •   Alsa is a Mappila dish derived from Harees, a traditional Arabic dish consisting of wheat, meat (or chicken) and salt. It is prepared by hitting the wheat with a strong equipment that makes it soft and palletable. Alsa aricLBiryani were popularised in Kerala by the Keyi family of Thalassery.
  •   Finally the palpayasam (milk sweet) a dessert is served.

Karnataka Food

The cuisine of Karnataka comprises of diverse vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines. The influence on Karnataka cuisine can be found in the food habits of many regions and communities from the three neighbouring South Indian states, as well as the state of Maharashtra to its north. Some typical dishes include Bisibele Bath. Saaru. Vangi Bath, Khara Bath, Kesari Bath, Akki Rotti, Davanagere -Benne Dosa, Ragi mudde, and Uppittu.The famous Masala. Dosa traces its origin to Udupi. Plain and Rave Idli or pancake. Mysore Masala Dosa and Maddur Vade are popular in South Karnataka. Coorg district is famous for spicy varieties of pork curries while coastal Karnataka boasts of many tasty sea food specialities. Among sweets, Mysore Pak, Dharwad Pedha, Pheni, Chiroti are well known. Style of food: By and large, South Indian cuisine is perhaps the hottest of all Indian food. Meals are centered around rice or rice-based dishes. Rice is combined with Sambaar (a soup-like lentil dish tempered with whole spices and chillies) and rasam (a hot-sour soup like lentil dish), dry and curried vegetables and meat dishes and a host "of coconut-based chutneys and poppadums (deep-fried crispy lentil pancakes). South Indians are great lovers of filter coffee. A large variety of sweetmeats are also part of South Indian cuisine.

Cooking oils commonly used: Vegetable oils like groundnut, gingelly, sunflower and canola are used and ghee is poured over rice during daily meals or in special occasion dishes. Coconut oil is most commonly used in Kerala for cooking and frying. Important spices and ingredients: Curry leaves, mustard, Asafetida. pepper and peppercorns, tamarind, chillies and fenugreek seeds.

Popular dishes: Idlis, Dosas, Vadas, Sambaar, Uttapams. Rasam, Payasam

Indian Filter Coffee

South Indian Coffee, also known as Madras Filter Coffee is a sweet milky coffee made from dark roasted coffee beans (70%-80%) and chicory (20%-30%). especially popular in the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The most commonly used coffee beans are Peaberry (preferred), Arabica. Malabar and Robusta grown in the hills of Kerala (Malabar). Karnataka (Chikmagalur) and Tamil Nadu (Nilgiris).

Outside India, a coffee drink prepared using a filter may be known as Filter Coffee or as Drip Coffee as the water passes through the ground seeds solely by gravity and not under pressure



  •   Idli - generally comes as steamed dumplings or rice muffins served with sambar (lentils) and coconut chutney
  •   Vegetable Cutlet - served with salad
  •   Rasa Vada / Medu Vada - lentil doughnut in spicy gravy / plain
  •   Dahi Vada - Lentil doughnut in yogurt
  •   Upma - cream-of-wheat cooked with nuts and seasoned


  •   Rava or Plain Dosa - semolina or rice and lentil pancak
  •   Masala Dosa - rice/lentil pancake filled with potatoes and onions.....
  •   Onion Rava Masala Dosa - semolina and onion pancake filled with potato and onion masala
  •   PaperDosa - paper thin rice/lentil pancake
  •   Paper Masala Dosa - paper thin rice/lentil pancake filled with potato masala
  •   Mysore Masala Dosa - rice/lentil pancakes cooked with spicy chutney and filled with potato
  •   Masala
  •   Onion Uthappam - lentil pizza topped with onions
  •   Mixed Uthappam - rice-lentil pizza topped with tomatoes, onion, green peas, capsicum and Chilies.

South Indian Curries

  •   Avial - A rich coconut curry
  •   Fish Coconut Curry - A southern delicacy from Kerala

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