The four southern states of India are full of interesting experiences to be explored, and - needless to say – make for great travelling spots and of course, gastronomy. We’ve picked the best from every region and give you an idea of what to expect on your trip down south.
Usually cooked in ghee, occasionally dum and full of herbs and spices, the Malabar Biryani makes for a hearty meal.
While versions of it are available in towns and cities, for the authentic experience, you’d have to visit Kerala. Even the rice used in the Malabari biryani is specifically available only in that region. Outside of the cities, the best Malabar Biryani (and other signature Malabar dishes) could be had in Kozikhode and Thalassery.
There are different kinds of Pulusu. One is Bendakaya Pulusu, with the base ingredient being lady fingers, another one being the uncooked, salad-ey version – Pachi Pulusu.
If you’re willing to dig into some meat, though, try out Naatukodi Pulusu – the chicken variety of pulusu. It’s a curry dish that sort of resembles a stew, but is thicker and with more flavours. It could as well be prepared at home, but the real thing is only available in the region.
Chettinad Chicken Curry
Chettinad is a region in Tamil Nadu that lends its name to the dish, and there are plenty of beautiful places nearby to visit if you are actually thinking of a trip. The chicken is prepared with tons of spices available in the region, as well as coconut paste. The curry is thicker than other curries on this list, and makes for a perfect meal.
For the uninitiated, pak is a type of sweet available across regions of India, including seasonal variants made with fruit like mango. Mysore Pak, however, is a specialty dish from the state of Karnataka. It’s made out of ghee, sugar, gram flour and other ingredients like dry fruit and cardamom, for taste.
Though again, we’d highly recommend you mark some eating joints on the list whenever you’re in Mysore or any place nearby.
Pomfret Fish Moilee
Usually made with seafood, Moilee is a type of stew that’s usually light on the senses, though still packs enough flavours to make you look for second portions very soon. It’s usually creamy in texture and isn’t like other heavily-flavoured Malabar dishes. Some accounts even trace the dish’s origins to Syria.
While Moilee could be made with a lot of things, our favourite is the Pomfret Moilee.
If there’s one Kerala dish that’s really popular outside Kerala, it’s Kerala-style Prawn curry. For the diehards who want to really delve into the regional prawn delicacies, there’s Chemmeen Theeyal. While there’s a chance you’d find versions of it at a restaurant nearby, it’s still not as widely available, and you may have to try it out on your potential trip to Kerala. It’s prepared with ground coconut and tons of spices, and could be as heavy on the senses as you want it to be.
A type of kheer, payasam is made with a variety of ingredients depending on where you’re having it, it’s as delicious as it’s varied. The most popular versions could be prepared with vermicelli, coconut milk and jaggery, though you can always find the best restaurants in your area that serve it. Or better; take a trip.
Hyderabadi cuisine has a lot to offer, though it’s the usual culprits like the biryani that end up taking all the glory. Haleem is a type of thick stew popular in Hyderabad as well as a lot of the Middle East. Usually made with minced meat, wheat, barley, lentils and a variety of spices, it makes for a complete meal. If you’re lucky and plan your trip around the festival season, you may even end up having some special varieties of it.
Andhra cuisine usually takes a backseat but it shouldn’t. Case in point: Gongura Mamsam, a spicy mutton recipe from the Guntur district.
While it’s usually prepared with mutton, lamb meat could be used, too. The special ingredient, that also gives it its name, is gongura; a type of leaf found in the region that gives the dish its signature flavour.
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