Like all other South Indian states, Tamil Nadu is also known for a wide variety of delicious food both for the vegetarians as well as the non-vegetarians. Grains, lentils, rice and vegetables are the main ingredients of the traditional foods of Tamil Nadu. Spices add flavor and give a distinctive taste to the Tamil cuisines. Some of the most common and popular dishes of the region are idly, dosai, vada, pongal and Uppuma. Coconut chutney and sambhar invariably form a part of most of the Tamil dishes.
The typical Tamil breakfast includes dosai, which is a pancake made
from a batter of rice, idly (steamed rice cakes) and lentils (crisp
fried on a pan), vada (deep fried doughnuts prepared from a batter of
lentils), pongal (a mash of rice and lentils boiled together and
seasoned with cashew nuts, ghee, pepper and cummin seed), uppuma (cooked
semolina seasoned in oil with mustard, pepper, cummin seed and dry
lentils). These are the main local dishes but there are several
variations that are eaten with coconut chutney and mulaga podi.
For lunch and the main course, the food consists of boiled rice, which
is served with an assortment of vegetable dishes, sambar, chutneys,
rasam (a hot broth prepared from tamarind juice and pepper) and curd. On
the other hand, the non-vegetarian lunch and dinner include curries and
dishes cooked with chicken, mutton or fish. Crispy Papad/Papar and
appalam form an important part of a typical Tamil meal.
Filter coffee is a famous and popular beverage of the people of Tamil
Nadu in general and Chennai in particular. It is interesting to note
that making of filter coffee is like a ritual as the coffee beans are
first roasted and then powdered. After the grinding work is over, the
powder is put into a filter set and then boiling water is added to
prepare the decoction, which is allowed to set for about 15-18 minutes.
The decoction is ready and can be added to milk with sugar according to
taste. The coffee is poured from one container to another in quick
succession so that the ideal frothy cup of filter coffee is ready.
Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and most aromatic in India.
The name Chettinad cuisine comes from the place of its origin,
Chettinad. Chettinad cuisine and delicacy is a specialty of Tamil Nadu
and is a delight for non-vegetarian food lovers. The Chettinad cuisine
consists of several variations of mutton, fish, and chicken items. The
Chettinad Pepper Chicken is a specialty of all the non-vegetarian
dishes. Dishes like biryani and paya are popular Tamil style of Mughali
food. Paya is a type of spiced trotters broth and is usually eaten with
either parathas or appam.