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10 Yummy South Indian Dishes You Should Try

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The different regions of India offer their own specialty food dishes. In South India, breakfast items are very popular and some eat it as lunch, dinner, or even as a snack.

Below are ten South Indian dishes to try if you have the chance to come upon a South Indian restaurant. You won’t regret it!

1. Dosa

A popular and tasty breakfast item, dosas are similar to crepes, but dosas are thinner and crispier. Made with fermented rice and lentils, dosas are generally made large and can take up a whole plate!

Small pieces of the dosa are broken from the big piece and paired with chutney before eating. There are different types of dosas, but most dosas are filled with potato stuffings in the middle on the inside.

Some even enjoy the dosas without stuffings! Check out the different types of dosas here.

2. Thali

What is special about thali is that it is a variety of dishes on one plate. It is like a buffet set on one tray! A South Indian inspired thali would have multiple South Indian dishes on the plate. It is the best way to try a variety of South Indian specialties.

A thali plate generally consist of rice, veggie dishes, curry dishes, and curd (yogurt). If you would like to check out how to properly eat a thali, check it out here.

3. Vada and Sambar

Vada is a lentil made, fritter snack that looks like a small brown donut.  Sambar is soup that is made with tamarind and a variety of spices and vegetables. The usual way of eating is putting the vada in the sambar, letting it soak up the broth. Others like to dip it with chutney. Two or three vadas usually come on a plate.

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4. Idli

Idli is a small, white, spongy cake made out of lentils and rice. It is usually served with sambar, chutney, and or ghee. It is another popular breakfast item in India. Many people enjoy it as a snack.

5. Briyani

Briyani is a specially prepared rice dish with different layers that are mixed together with different seasonings, vegetables, and or meats.

It can be offered with vegetables, chicken, beef, lamb, or even seafood. Raita, a type of yogurt dressing is often given to pair with the briyani.

There are more than 40 versions of briyani in South India, so check out the different types of briyanis in India here.

6. Uttapam

Uttapam is a type of flatten pancake made with rice and lentils batter and mixed with vegetables. It is similar to dosa but it is usually thicker and smaller than dosa. Uttapam can also be served with sambar or chutney.

7. Upma

Upma is rice porridge that is mixed with chili and onions and generally served hot. It is another popular breakfast item in South India.

8. Indian Filtered Coffee

South Indian style coffee is made using a coffee filter and then sugar and hot, boiled milk is added to it. The mixing of the coffee with milk and sugar between the stainless steel tumbler and bowl forms a froth at the top. If you would like to make your own South Indian brew, check it out here or video, here.

Check out the proper way to drink coffee like a South Indian here.

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9. Rasam

Rasam is another soup based on juices from tamarind, tomato, cumin, pepper, and other spices. The taste can be distinct, with spicy, sweet and sour mixed together, but it is very good for health.

10. Chicken 65

Chicken 65 is a dish with different legends as to how it got its name. A general story says the dish was the 65th dish on the menu, and as the dish became popular, it just kept the name.

Whatever it is, this fried chicken mixed with spicy flavoring deserves a spot on this list for famous South Indian dishes to try. After one try, you won’t be able to forget it!

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