Gourmets’ Delight: Eat ALL the Food in Tamilnadu!

You’re on an adventure in a new country, running around, taking in all the beauty that the Southern state of India has to offer. Let’s face it: you are bound to get hungry sooner or later! Fortunately, you have come to a great place to satisfy your rumbling belly; the food in Tamilnadu is simply amazing.

Photo by KARTY JazZ

Cooks in Tamilnadu have a wonderful take on cooking and giving food to others – they regard it as a way of helping humanity. They do it out of love and care, something that you’ll notice all throughout your journey in India. The traditional food of Tamilnadu is diverse and includes dishes that are vegetarian and non-vegetarian, so all you carnivores out there can relax – you’ll be able to eat a lot of meat!
The stars of most meals in this region are rice and lentils, accompanied by various vegetables and dairy products. Sometimes, dishes feature both rice and lentils. To bring out the real essence of each meal, Tamilnadu cooks use a large variety of spices like ginger, coriander, curry, chili cloves, coconut, nutmeg and rosewater. To give the food a slight sour tang, Tamil chefs love to utilize tamarind, a legume that also has a lot of positive effects on digestion. Thanks to such a wide array of seasonings, each meal is exquisite and unlike anything you’ve ever tasted – in a good way.
Photo by KARTY JazZ

The magnificent thing about the way food is prepared lies in history – most of the traditional dishes are made and served the same way they were hundreds of years ago. So, you can justify all of your binge eating by saying you’re basically just learning about the history of the region!
The food is usually served on a banana leaf, which is then used to feed the cows – what a great concept!
What are the special Tamil dishes that you should look forward to? Here are our favorites:
Usually made with lentil and rice batter, but it can also be made with bread batter. It looks like a beautifully multicolored thick pancake (and tastes delicious, too.) You can add any number of veggies and spices to it, according to your own taste. It is the perfect breakfast, but you can also eat it for lunch.
Photo by SteveR

Also called “string hopper,” it takes a long time to prepare. But believe us, it’s worth waiting for! This dish is practically the sibling of all things curry, no matter the base ingredient (fish, chicken, eggs, potatoes.) Idiyappam is usually made of rice flour, water and salt, then pressed through a special device to make the strands extra thin.
Photo by Viewfinder18

A typical street food, this flatbread-type dish is served also at large celebrations, like weddings. Its dough is kneaded and formed into thin layers and then spiraled to form a ball. People usually eat it with all types of meat, like chicken or mutton, but you can find veggie varieties, too.
Photo by Charles Haynes

Kari Dosai
 A dosa is a fermented pancake, made out of rice and/or lentil batter. Kari Dosai, on the other hand, is a much better version of these crêpes: the chefs take the meat and cook it with the dosa. The result? An amazingly thin and tasty pancake with a twist of flavor from the meat… heavenly!
Photo by Kalaiselvi Murugesan

Can be sweet or savoury, but we adore the sweet version! This dish has a lot of history. Each January, the people of Tamilnadu celebrate Pongal. It is a harvest festival where they give thanks for a good year of crops and to the animals that have helped with gathering food for the town. It is mainly during this time that the Pongal dish is made by boiling rice and milk together with a bit of brown sugar. They usually also add cashews or raisins to the mix. Forget macarons and cronuts, Pongal is the new dessert celebrity!
Photo by VSharmilee

Hungry yet? We sure are! With this crash-course in Tamil gastronomy, we’re sure that you’ll have a wonderful time (and a full belly) when travelling India. Bon appetit!

Are you crazy enough to come along for the ride? Then join us on the next Rickshaw Challenge. Get a team together and let’s see you at the starting line! If you want to join us in spirit, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up with our latest antics.

Leave a Reply


Mumbai Xpress

Deccan Odyssey

Malabar Rampage

Classic Run

Tamilnadu Run

Follow us on Facebook