Tamil Nadu Cuisine
Tamil Nadu is famous for its deep belief that serving food to others is a service to humanity.The four divisions of ancient Tamilakam are the primary means of dividing Tamil cuisine.
The Chettinad region comprising Karaikudi and adjoining areas is known for both traditional vegetarian dishes like idiyappam, uthappam,paal paniyaram and non-vegetarian dishes made primarily using Chicken and mutton.
Madurai, Tirunelveli and the other southern districts of Tamil Nadu are known for non-vegetarian food made of mutton, chicken, fish.Parota made with maida or all-purpose flour, and loosely similar to the north Indian wheat flour-based Paratha, is served at food outlets.Madurai has its own unique foods such as jigarthanda, muttaiparotta(minced parotta and scrambled egg), paruthipal (made of cottonseeds),Karidosai (dosai with mutton stuffing) & ennaidosai (dosai with lots of oil) which are rarely found in other parts of Tamil Nadu.
Nanjilnadu (Kanyakumari district) region is famous for its fish curry since the region is surrounded by the three great water bodies of Asia: (Indian ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal). Fish forms an integral part of life. Owing to its unique cultural affinity and the availability of coconut, coconut oil forms a base for almost all the preparations of the region.
The western Kongunadu region has specialities like Santhakai/Sandhavai (a noodle like item of rice), Oputtu (a sweet tasting pizza-like dish that is dry outside with a sweet stuffing), and kola urundai (meatballs), The natural crops of this region forms the main ingredients in this Kongunadu cuisine
‘Virundhu’ in Tamil means ‘feast’, when guests (friends and relatives) are invited during happy ceremonial occasions to share food. ‘Sappadu’ means a full course meal, which will usually be a lunch or dinner affair.
Rice is the major staple food of most of the Tamil people. Lunch or Dinner is usually a meal of steamed rice (choru), served with accompanying items, which typically include sambar, dry curry, rasam, kootu and thayir (curd, but as used in India refers to yogurt) or more(buttermilk).
Breakfast usually includes idli, pongal, dosai, aval (flattened rice), puttu, idiyappam, appam with sweetened coconut milk, chapathi, sevai, Vadai which are of 2 kinds – (medhuvadai meaning soft vadai and paruppuvadai meaning lentils vadai) Vadai, along with coconut chutney,sambar and Milagai podi. Tiffin is usually accompanied by hot filter coffee, the signature beverage of the city.After the meals, betel leaves and nuts are chewed in a leisurely way.