10 Delicious Tamil Dishes That You Should Try At Least Once

10 Delicious Tamil Dishes That You Should Try At Least Once

Tamil Nadu is a state with many delightful dishes. The versatility of its cuisine is a reflection of the different cultures that amalgamate to form the expansive state. Every community boasts of some traditional recipes that have stood the test of time and are close to their hearts. From tamarind pulp to coconut to red chillies, everything used in Tamil cuisine creates an unforgettable taste on your palate. So, if you thought that Tamil Nadu was limited to idli, dosa, and chutney, then think again. There’s so much more you haven’t tried yet.

10 Most Popular Tamil Dishes With Recipes

Open the doors to a world of aromatic and taste-bud tingling sensations by trying these classic dishes of Tamil cuisine.

1. Arachuvitta Sambar (Pumpkin Sambar)

This is the ultimate soul food for Tamilians and makes its appearance at every festival.

Pumpkin Sambar
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • 2-inch pieces of tamarind- 2 pieces
  • Boiled water- ½ cup
  • Toor dal- ¼ cup
  • White pumpkin or ash gourd- 100 grams
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Tamarind pulp

Masala:

  • A teaspoon of coconut oil
  • Dried red chillies- 4
  • Chana dal- 1 tablespoon
  • Fenugreek seeds- ¼ tablespoon
  • Coriander seeds- ½ tablespoon
  • Desiccated coconut- ¼ cup
  • Asafoetida– a pinch

Tempering:

  • Cooking oil- 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard- ½ spoon
  • Curry leaves– 6-10
  • Red chilli- 1
  • Asafoetida- a pinch

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

Total Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Method:

  • Extract tamarind pulp using hot water.
  • Pressure cook the toor dal for 5 whistles.
  • Heat oil in a pan and roast the ingredients for the masala until they give out a strong aroma.
  • Grind into a fine paste and set aside.
  • Stir fry the ash gourd for 2 minutes. Add the tamarind pulp and bring to a boil along with salt.
  • Now add the masala paste and bring to a boil once again.
  • Simmer until the ash gourd softens.
  • Next, mash the cooked toor dal and add it. Check for consistency and add water if required.
  • Simmer until the sambar bubbles up.
  • Prepare the tempering now.
  • Pour this over the sambar, and it is ready to eat with some hot rice and ghee.

2. Vengaya Vatha Kozhambu (Onion Sambar)

Vatha kozhambu is the go-to when you want delicious yet simple food. It takes just under 20 minutes to make but is utterly lip-smacking.

Vengaya Vatha Kozhambu
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Onion- 1 (sliced)
  • Sesame oil- 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds-  1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • Toor dal- 2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves- a few
  • Sambar powder- 3 tablespoon
  • Asafoetida- a pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • Tamarind pieces- a few
  • Jaggery- a small piece

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 3 servings

Method:

  • Extract tamarind pulp using tamarind and hot water.
  • Heat oil and add mustard, fenugreek, toor dal, and curry leaves. When the mustard splutters, add the asafoetida and cook till there’s a strong aroma.
  • Now add the onion and fry until it is soft.
  • Now add the tamarind extract and sambar powder and allow it to boil. The oil should separate and float on top.
  • Now add jaggery to this mix and stir.
  • Simmer for a few minutes and switch off the flame.
  • Serve with hot rice and ghee.

3. Adai Dosai (Lentils Dosa)

Adai is one of our favourite Tamil breakfast recipes that contain the wholesomeness of lentils and the goodness of rice all in one dish.

Adai Dosai
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Rice- 1 cup
  • Toor dal– ½ cup
  • Chana dal– ½ cup
  • Moong dal– 2 tablespoons
  • Urad dal– 2 tablespoons
  • Salt as required
  • Dried red chillies- 2 numbers
  • Asafoetida- a pinch
  • Curry leaves- a few
  • Oil- for cooking

Note: You can also add chopped onions or fenugreek leaves to the dosa batter.

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Total Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4-6 servings

Method:

  • Wash the lentils and rice twice and soak in water just covering the entire mass. Add the red chillies while soaking too.
  • After an hour, put the lentils and rice along with water into a blender. Add salt and asafoetida.
  • Blend into a coarse and thick paste. Add water to get the consistency of a thick batter.
  • Heat a flat tawa and temper it well.
  • Add a spoonful of batter and spread in concentric circular movements. Add a few drops of oil and allow it to cook.
  • Turn over and cook the other side. If you prefer crispy adai, then leave it to simmer for a little longer.
  • Serve with chutney or ghee.

4. Thengai Sadam (Coconut Rice)

This rice recipe is something that is served as lunch or evening tiffin. The simplicity of cooking coconut rice is only paralleled by its authentic and modest taste.

Thengai Sadam
Source: Pinterest

 

Ingredients:

  • Rice- 2 cups cooked
  • Salt as required

Tempering:

  • Coconut oil- 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard seeds- ½ spoon
  • Red chilli- 2
  • Urad dal– ½ spoon
  • Cashew or peanuts- 2 tablespoons (Broken)
  • Curry leaves- a few
  • Green chilli- 2, slit
  • Asafoetida- a pinch
  • Freshly grated coconut- ½ cup

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Servings: Serves 4

Method:

  • Pressure cook the rice with salt and set aside.
  • In a kadhai, heat coconut oil and add mustard. Once they splutter, add red chillies and stir.
  • Now add the cashews and urad dal and wait till it becomes slightly brown.
  • Add green chillies, curry leaves, and asafoetida.
  • Add the grated coconut and stir once.
  • Mix in the cooked rice and check if it requires more salt.
  • Serve hot with tomato chutney or curry and papad.

5. Uppu Kozhakattai (Salty Flour Dumpling)

Uppu kozhakattai is traditional Tamil food that is specially prepared during Ganesh Chaturthi. It is a scrumptious snack that is healthy and nutritious too.

Uppu Kozhakattai
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients

  • Rice flour- 1 cup
  • Water- 2 cups
  • Freshly grated coconut- 3 tablespoons
  • Green chillies- 2 chopped
  • Mustard seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves- a few
  • Urad dal– 1 tablespoon
  • Bengal gram- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Method:

  • In a kadhai, heat oil and add the dal and mustard seeds.
  • Once the dal turns aromatic, add curry leaves and green chillies and stir.
  • Add water and salt to this and bring the water to a boil.
  • Add grated coconut and rice flour and stir to remove any lumps.
  • Let the mixture cool down once it is well cooked.
  • After it cools, grease your palms and take a small ball of the mix and shape it into an oblong puff.
  • Steam for 7 minutes using an idli plate or steamer.

6. Paruppu Poli (Sweet Flour Pancake)

Paruppu poli is one of the heritage Tamil sweet recipes made during festivals.

Paruppu Poli
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Refined Flour- 2 cups
  • Turmeric– 1 teaspoon
  • Salt- a pinch
  • Oil- 1 teaspoon
  • Water- 1 cup
  • Ghee- 1 tablespoon

Stuffing:

  • Chana dal– 1 cup
  • Jaggery- ¼ cup
  • Cardamom- 2 pounded
  • Ghee- 1 teaspoon

Preparation Time: 3.5 hours

Total Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4-6 people

Method:

  • Take the flour, turmeric, and salt in a mixing bowl; add water and knead into a soft dough.
  • Add oil as required to make it soft and smooth.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest for 1-2 hours.
  • Now dry roast the dal and soak for about one hour.
  • Pressure cook for a few whistles until it is well done.
  • Cool and mash thoroughly.
  • Heat ghee in a kadhai and add the dal, cardamom and jaggery.
  • Cook on a slow flame until the jaggery melts and blends with the dal.
  • Roll the dough with stuffing like you would make a paratha.
  • Use a cling film or butter paper to roll on to avoid the poli sticking to the surface.
  • Put the rolled poli on a tawa and cook both sides until slightly brown. Use ghee while cooking.
  • Serve warm.

Note: Kneading and letting the dough rest well is key to making the poli soft.

7. Senai Masiyal (Elephant Yam Stew)

This is one of the simplest foods to have with steaming hot rice and ghee. It is quick to cook and delicious to eat.

Senai Masiyal
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Senai (Elephant yam)- 250 grams
  • Toor dal– 3 tablespoons
  • Tamarind- a small piece
  • Oil for seasoning
  • Mustard seeds for tempering
  • Asafoetida- a pinch
  • Green chilli- 1
  • Ginger- ½ inch piece
  • Curry leaves- a few
  • Tamarind pulp

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Servings: Serves 2

Method:

  • Peel and rinse the yam properly. Chop into small cubes.
  • Use a layer of oil on your hands before you begin because yam can cause skin irritation.
  • Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract the pulp.
  • Pressure cook the toor dal for 3-5 whistles.
  • Mash it well once done.
  • Pressure cook the yam too either in the same cooker or separately.
  • Mash the yam.
  • Heat oil in a kadhai and let the mustard splutter. Add the asafoetida, chillies, ginger, and curry leaves and sauté for a minute.
  • Add the mashed dal and yam and stir.
  • Now add the tamarind extract and bring to a boil. Check for salt and adjust consistency of water as required.
  • Once cooked, serve with rice.

8. Manga Pachadi (Raw Mango Stew)

This raw mango pachadi recipe is a sweet and tangy combination that is made with tamarind and jaggery. It is taken as an accompaniment to rice.

Manga Pachadi
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Raw mango- 2
  • Tamarind water- ¼ cup
  • Jaggery- 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ spoon
  • Sambar powder- ½ spoon
  • Salt- ½ spoon

Tempering:

  • Mustard- ½ teaspoon
  • Asafoetida- a pinch
  • Curry leaves- a few
  • Dried red Chilli- 2
  • Oil for cooking

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Method:

  • Boil mango cubes in tamarind water and jaggery.
  • Add turmeric and let it simmer till the mango softens.
  • Add salt and sambar powder and stir well.
  • Once the fluid thickens, turn off the flame and let it rest.
  • Prepare the tempering using the ingredients listed and pour over the cooked pachadi.
  • Serve as a side dish.

9. Beans Paruppu Usili (Beans and Dal Curry)

This is a simple and elegant side dish that makes its appearance on most occasions.

Paruppu Usili
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Green beans- 2 cups, chopped
  • Turmeric- ½ teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Toor dal– ¼ cup, soaked for an hour
  • Red chillies- 2
  • Asafoetida- a pinch
  • Mustard for tempering
  • Curry leaves

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Total Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Servings: Serves 4

Method:

  • Cook beans by boiling in water with salt and turmeric.
  • Grind the soaked dal with red chillies, salt, and asafoetida and steam the paste.
  • Crumble once cooled.
  • Heat oil and make the tempering with mustard and curry leaves. Add the crumbled dal and beans together and stir over a low flame.
  • Serve as a side dish for rice with rasam or sambar.

10. Pallipalayam Chicken Fry (Village-style Fried Chicken)

This is a chicken recipe that uses few ingredients but is delicious and very popular.

Palliipalayam Chicken Fry
Source: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast- 300 grams, cut into pieces
  • Shallot onions- 1 cup
  • Garlic- 4 cloves
  • Red chillies- 4
  • Chilli powder- ½ teaspoon
  • Turmeric- ½ teaspoon
  • Curry leaves- a few
  • Coriander leaves chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking oil

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Method:

  • Grind the shallot onions and garlic together and set aside.
  • Heat oil and add chillies. Now add curry leaves and the ground paste.
  • Simmer till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder, salt and stir.
  • Add the chicken pieces and sauté. Sprinkle salt as required and stir till the chicken is well fried.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice and rasam.

Most traditional Tamil Nadu recipes are precious hand-me-downs through the centuries and are highly valued in South-Indian culinary circles. Try these at home for lunch and we’re sure your family will never forget their lip-smacking taste!

Also Read:

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