Top 5 South Indian Food and Dishes for Hungry Travelers

Dishes The words Indian and food together may bring out an aromatic picture of soft, puffy naans, juicy butter chicken dishes, luscious kebab platters and spicy mixed vegetable curries with creamy lentil soup in your mind. But that’s not all there is when it comes to Indian food. The aforementioned delicacies are just a part of the vast ocean that is the Indian cuisine and hails from the north of the country. Dishes

South Indian cuisine is definitely polar opposite with amazing flavors and hearty tastes. The south India mainly comprises of Andhra PradeshTelengana, Tamil NaduKarnataka and Kerala with each having their own variant of the commonly known south Indian dishes along with an array of regional specialities.

To get a good introduction to South Indian Dishes, here are the ones you must seek out:

#1. Masala Dosa –  South Indian rice flour crepes

This is a traditional south Indian breakfast item, but also eaten at other time of meals and is available with its own regional twist throughout the country. These dosa crepes can vary on their type of filling inside along with the level of crunchiness of the crepes.

They are usually served with an accompaniment of hot and sour lentil soup called sambar and some creamy coconut chutney often flavored with mint or curry leaves.  The top variants of dosa include – masala, plain and rava or paper dosa. The plain one is just hollow without any fillings the masala dosa has a filling of or is served with mashed potato with onions and tomatoes in the side. The rava variant is made with semolina and offers added crunch to the dish.

Nowadays other variants of the masala dosa are also available where several places have gotten creative with the inner fillings, like – cottage cheese, vegetables and others.

However, before you try the modern favorites it is strongly recommended that you go with the simple masala dosa first, as it is uniquely textured light on the palate yet filling and best taken hot out of the griddle.

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#2. Idlis – Steamed rice cakes

These are ivory coloured, soft, fluffy rice cakes with texture similar to soft bread but with unique flavors. Idlis are a hot favorite of many south Indian or simply Indian families and is a popular breakfast dish, served with hot and sour lentil soup with vegetables called sambar and coconut chutney.

If fiery flavors aren’t your thing and you would rather try a comfort food with mild tastes and soft and fluffy textures, then idli is the way to go.

#3. Vada – Savory doughnuts

While the look of these might trigger you sweet tooth hankering but these are nothing but savory! They will however, satiate your cravings for deep fried, hot and crisp munchies and that too for breakfast! Another breakfast favorite in south India, these vadas look almost like doughnuts but are not at all sweet.

They are made from black lentil mixtures and are gently spiced with pepper-corns, curry leaves, cumin and chili and sometimes contain mild hints of onion. They are crunchy breakfast fritters, best enjoyed hot with a generous smear of coconut chutney.

#4. Uttapam – Pizza meets pancakes

It is not easy to compare Uttapams with either a pizza or a pancake. But it is a harmonious hybrid of both with its own unique identity. It is cooked like a pancake with a ladle full of fermented rice and lentil mixture poured onto a hot griddle. Then they are sprinkled with toppings like chopped tomatoes, onions and chilies, coconut and carrots or other choice of toppings.

This results in a porous yet fluffy delicious dish called Uttapam, which is almost like dosa but softer and are usually sampled with or without other accompaniments of chutneys or soups.

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#5. Appams with istew – Pancake with istew

Appams are south Indian pancakes almost like crepes similar to dosa, made with fermented rice flour and coconut milk. They are soft, light and fluffy and best eaten with a generous serving of istew or ishtu. Istew is a freshly made coconut milk infused stew of fresh vegetables like shallots and peppers, spiced mildly with a cooked meat of your choice. The most common options are chicken, mutton or vegetable istew.

#6. Banana chips – Chips with a difference

These are yellow, hot and crunchy roadside delights fried freshly in hot oil. A common sight in South India, these are in famous tea time samplers usually mildly flavored with coconut as are fried in coconut oil. They are usually coated with salt and mild spices but may also be covered with jiggery.

How to Plan Your Holiday in Kerala: A Comprehensive Guide

Plan Colorful customs, remarkable traditions, rich culture, exotic landscape, art and crafts, finger-licking food etc. are all important features of the popular Kerala state. One of the best destinations in India, it is termed as ‘God’s Own Country’. The state offers an ideal recipe of a memorable vacation, be it with your family or your partner.

Plan

Ancient temples, pristine beaches, placid backwaters, energetic festivals, mesmerizing hill stations, and therapeutic Ayurveda allure travelers from all across the globe. The state has to offer something to people with varied interests. On the West, state has the Arabian Sea and on the East, it has the Western Ghats. 44 rivers traverse through the land of Kerala. This tropical paradise is definitely worth a visit.

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If you are planning a holiday in India, here is a comprehensive guide for your convenience:

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Kerala depends on where you want to go and what to you want to do. The state has something to offer all through the year to its visitors. This tropical state is hot during most of the time of the year but two monsoon rains with heavy rainfall make the place worthy of a visit anytime. However, the best time to visit Kerala is between the months of December and March, when the weather is cool and dry. This is the peak tourist season. You can indulge in a number of outdoor activities along with sightseeing.

In case you do not like sun and sweating avoid visiting Kerala in April and May as the weather is humid and hot. However, you might get good discounts on bookings. Planning a vacation between May and November during the monsoon rains would be ideal if you are planning a vacation filled with Ayurveda therapies. The effect is best at this time. The rains also make the place look even more lush and bountiful.

How to reach

Located in the south-western corner of India, Kerala state is easily accessible through all modes of transportation. Here is how to reach Kerala:

  • By Air:

There are 2 international airports in Kerala- Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. Kozhikode airport is the domestic airport with a strategic location. Both public and private airlines offer a connectivity between these airports and the other important destinations of India as well as abroad.

  • By Train:

Cities and towns in Kerala enjoy a good connectivity with other destinations of the country. There are around 200 railway stations in Kerala. There are direct trains from these stations to important cities of India such as Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and so on.

  • By Road:

The south Indian state of Kerala is well-connected to other parts of the country. Visitors can use National Highways 17, 47 and 49 to come to this state. Neighboring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are also connected to the state through a good network of roads.

  • By Sea:

Regular ships are available from the Lakshadweep Island to Kochi. Backwaters of Kerala is another means of transport in the state.

Accommodation

Kerala receives domestic as well as foreign travelers every year in huge numbers. There are family vacationers, animal enthusiasts, honeymooning couples, business guests, nature lovers and so on. The innumerable hotels in Kerala offer a memorable stay to all kinds of tourists as per their budget. There are 5-star hotels, deluxe hotels, economy hotels and homestays also.

Kerala hotels can be booked as per one’s interest such as backwater resorts, beach resorts, luxury hotels, wildlife lodges, Ayurveda and spa resorts. Treehouses and houseboats are two of the exotic accommodation options in Kerala offering an unforgettable stay amid modern comforts. Take a pick as per your liking and pocket size.

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Choose your destination

The natural beauty of Kerala is quite enchanting. The state has backwaters, waterfalls, forests, backwaters and beaches, along with verdant ambiance. Some of the natural wonders of Kerala are:

Backwaters in Kerala: Truly Captivating

Internationally-renowned, backwaters of Kerala were originally a mode of transportation, but are now one of Kerala’s most popular attractions. Just hop into a houseboat, locally known as Ketuvallam, for cruising on these placid water channels. Houseboat tours including sightseeing, bird watching, fishing and other interesting activities. Here are some of the popular backwater destinations in Kerala:

  • Alleppey backwaters: Termed as the ‘Venice of south’, Alleppey backwaters has abundant natural beauty. This wonderful backwater has narrow canals with palm grooves and lush landscape. Backwater in Alleppey or Alappuzha backwater is not to be missed due to its memorable experiences. It mostly is a part of Kerala tours.
  • Kumarakom backwaters: The backwaters in Kumarakom are enveloped by copious vegetation and tall trees, making the place look dream-like. Coconut groves, thick forests, village, and verdant hills are some of the attractions of houseboat ride here. This journey is surely going to be a lifetime experience.
  • Kollam Backwaters: Kollam backwaters are known to be one of the ancient trade centers of Kerala. This backwater leads you to the popular Ashthamudi Lake, enveloped by expansive vegetable. The vistas are wonderful here. The longest backwater cruise in Kerala is between Kollam to Alleppey, which is of around 8 hours. Savor wonderful views of riverbanks and exotic flora and fauna.
  • Kochi Backwaters: Lovingly known as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’, Kochi is known to be owning some of the most wonderful backwaters sights in Kerala. Known to be as tranquil and charming as the backwaters of Alleppey and Trivandrum, the backwaters of Kochi mainly lie within the city and spread over places like Bolgatty Palace, Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry, Fort Kochi etc.
  • Trivandrum Backwaters: A wonderful combination of close-knit canals and picturesque rivers, Trivandrum backwaters are quite eye-catching. These backwaters also hold a lot of importance for the state. One of its most popular highlights is the placid Vembanad Lake, covering an area of 200 square km. It finally flows into the Arabian Sea at the Cochin port. Try your hand at canoeing at the confluence of River Killi and River Karamana.

Hill Stations in Kerala – The charming Munnar

Hill stations of Kerala, primarily Munnar is the other highlight of Kerala tour. Placed in the eastern terrain of the state, Munnar lies at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level. The place has several allures for its visitors. Some of the must-visit places in Munnar are Tea Museum, Chinnakanal waterfalls, Mattupetty Dam and Lake, Eravikuman National Park, and the Anamudi Peak.

Do not miss taking a leisure walk in the tea plantations of Munnar. Along with leisure vacationers, the place also offers opportunities for adventure lovers. Trekking enthusiasts can trek up the Anamudi peak, the highest peak in South India. Paragliding and rock climbing are other popular activities here.