Indian FoodSouth Indian Food

5 Appetizing and Best South Indian Dishes

South Indian Dishes

The Southern region of India is known for its multiple spices that are very generously used in cooking their dishes like nutmeg, peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves, & cardamom. South India is mostly popular for its variety of spicy tangy foods with each of the different regions varying in the cooking style, ingredients, and amount of spices used. The staple food of the people in this region is rice with curry & sambhar.

South Indian dishes include the dishes of the five southern states of India namely – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. South Indian food is famous all over the world for its delicious and unique foods which include vada, dosa, idli, uttapam, and many others. Every region has its local cuisines which differ from each other slightly on taste and cooking methods. South India offers several non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian dishes to delight your taste buds. Some traditional dishes are pongal, rava idli from Karnataka, Sambhar from Tamil Nadu, the famous kadala from Kerala, and the succulent kebabs from Andhra Pradesh.  The similarities in the dishes in all five states dishes include the presence of rice, lentils & spices like red and green chilies, coconut, & local fruits and veggies like tamarind, curry leaves, & snake gourd. 

Let us have a brief discussion on the various cuisines of different Southern Indian states to understand their food choices. From Kerala comes malabar cooking with its assortment of tasty seafood dishes. Hyderabad is home to the Nizams and people there love traditional Nizami food that is rich & flavourful with their taste ranging from spicy to sour to sweet. Hyderabadi food is full of nuts and dried fruits and exotic expensive spices like saffron. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and most parts of Andhra Pradesh use rice. People prefer ragi or finger millet in large quantities in the southern regions of Karnataka. People in north Karnataka consume bajra and sorghum, while the Telangana people prefer jowar & pearl millet.

south indian dishes

The 3 regions of Telugu Land vary in their dishes. The Telangana region which shares borders with Central India and Vidarbha has more sorghum and pearl millet-based rottlas in their diet. The Rayalaseema districts share borders with eastern Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and their dishes have similarities to that of those regions. The coastal Andhra region dishes have a distinctive flavor due to the inclusion of freshly available seafood.

Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana, has its collection of delicious dishes, which is different from the other Telugu dishes. Hyderabadi dishes include delicacies like gosht ki biryani (mutton biryani), dum ka murgh (chicken cooked in Hyderabadi style), achari sabzi & many others. 

Healthy and tasty, south Indian dishes are protein-packed as a primary component of their dishes is lentils and different types of grains like wheat, jowar, millet, etc. These dishes are also cooked in coconut oil or peanut oil which contain healthy fats and are good for reducing bad cholesterol. Fermentation is a significant part of their cooking procedure which ensures the presence of probiotic bacterias in their dishes thereby, helping them to maintain a healthy gut and glowing skin. 

5 delicious and easy to cook south Indian dishes that are popular globally are as follows:

Dosa (thin crepes)

A common and authentic South Indian delicacy made of rice and lentil batter, dosa is a thin crispy fried pancake that is taken with sambar and coconut chutney. Masala dosa is sometimes eaten with a filling of spicy potatoes and other vegetables along with paneer.

south indian dishes

Fluffy white rice cakes that are soft and taken with sambhar are one of the most common foods taken by the people of south India. The rice cake is made with rice and lentils and then steamed into a circular shape. 

Vada (doughnuts)

Deep-fried, hot & crispy, a south Indian vada is loved by all. Made from lentils and generously spiced with curry leaves, peppercorns, chili & onion these fritters are taken with homemade coconut chutney.

Banana chips
south indian dishes

Yellow and crisp, these banana slices are deep-fried in coconut oil and are a very common snack in southern India. They are salty and have a mild coconut-like flavor and are loved by all.


Thin crepes are made from a batter of rice flour & coconut milk, appams are soft, fluffy, and delicious. Appam is generally taken with another delicacy known as ishtu which is a fresh coconut milk stew full of spicy vegetables and sometimes even meat.

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