1. Health & Lifestyle

Top 6 Tamil Nadu Delicacies You Must Try

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Kari Dosai

Which is the best cuisine of Tamil Nadu? This is tough to define in a single line or with a binary answer. Tamil Nadu's culinary traditions, like those of the rest of India, date back centuries however, not every dish has a timeless tradition; in fact, much of what we now consider Tamil cuisine may have originated in restaurants in the state capital and other gourmet attractions such as Madurai. 

Chennai is the best venue to witness Tamil Nadu's diverse culinary offerings. Although an entire list of dishes is impossible to compile, the following is a decent place to start: 

Kari dosai: 

The three-tier dosai at Madurai's Konar Mess is a local legend. A thick dosa, an omelette and a layer of minced mutton. This is not a dosai you can take lightly. Order a repeat at your own risk and wash it down with Bovonto, Madurai's very own soft drink. This is now available at their Chennai outlet.  

Dindigul Biryani:  

The peculiar flavours of Dindigul's biryani come from the local lamb, small grain (seeraga samba) rice, and nearby water sources. The Chennai adaptation comes close. The Thalappakatti Biriyani is a representative of the Dindigul-style biryani. The restaurant started in Dindigul and got its name from the founder's love of turbans (thalappakatti).

Vada Curry: 

This is a classic Chennai meal, consisting of a coarse dal mix in a flavorful gravy. It's almost identical to the popular masala vada in terms of preparation. One of the stories about the origins of Vada curry is that it was created from leftover vada chunks mixed into a gravy. According to all accounts, the vada curry was created at a restaurant before becoming a favourite Sunday morning choice in many households. It's commonly served with idli, idiappam, and set dosa in many households and eateries. With a spoon, I adore digging into the bowl. 

Idiappam Paya: 

Idiappam or string hoppers may taste the same all across the world, but the accompaniments are vastly different. Pepper paya with mutton trotters is served in some of Chennai's most famous eateries. Since the 1960s, Samco, a famed restaurant, hasn't changed its recipe for Pepper Paya. It reminds me of Nihari Gosht with lamb shanks. In North Chennai, a number of meat businesses sell specially smoked lamb shanks for paya.

Onion Uthappam: 

Uthappams may look similar to dosas to the layman, but they are not the same thing. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, this is almost like a cross between a dosa and an idli, and it's a popular evening snack or supper meal that can be prepared quickly. It's even better when the dosa batter is slightly soured. The most popular variety is the Onion Uthappam, which is made with chopped onions and green chilies and flavoured with gingelly (sesame) oil. 

Kuzhambu Meen: 

The cooks at Velu Military Hotel have a legend that they still tell. When their founder (Velu Ambalam) pulled into the restaurant every day, he had to get a whiff of their famous Meen Kuzhambu (fish gravy). If he didn't, he'd rage into the kitchen, dump the day's gravy, roll up his sleeves, and start from scratch with the Meen Kuzhambu. This fish gravy is ingrained in Tamil culture and can be found in houses all over the state. It's equally excellent with rice as it is with idli or dosa as a side dish. 

Like this article?

Hey! I am Chintu Das. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters