What strikes me about South Indian cuisine each time I visit that part of India is how creative it is with a humble cup of rice! They steam, ferment, grind, slow-cook, roll, simmer, sauté to produce a plethora of interesting and very tasty dishes. Here's a few I got messy with on my trip back home earlier this month...a LOT of Tamil and Kannadiga food was eaten...
Cooking techniques involved: Grind to rice flour, cook with water, squeeze into noodles, steam
To accompany: curries, or even just sugar and coconut milk!
Cooking techniques involved: Soak in water with urad dal, grind to make a paste, ferment overnight, steam
To accompany: coconut chutney and sambhar (spicy lentil soup)
Cooking techniques involved: Soak in water with urad dal, grind to make a paste, ferment for a day, cook on a frying pan, like you would a pancake
To accompany: curries, sambhar and chutneys of different types (coconut, tomato, groundnut, coriander are a few popular ones)
Cooking techniques involved: Grind to rice flour, make into dough with hot water, roll out into pancakes (rice flour dough is crumbly and difficult to roll out. It's often patted onto the pan instead, to form a pancake), cook
To accompany: curries and sides
Cooking techniques involved: Soak in water with urad dal, grind to a paste, ferment overnight or for longer, add grated coconut, sauteéd onions, curry leaves, mustard seeds and chilli, steam in a lightly greased appey pan
To accompany: coconut chutney
Cooking techniques involved: Grind to rice flour, slow-cook with water to make a dough, roll into tiny balls, boil in a coconut milk, jaggery and moong dal mixture, season with cardamom, and drizzle with ghee
To accompany: eat this delicious dessert on its own. Recipe coming up soon...
Cooking techniques involved: Slow-cook with sauteéd mixed vegetables and spices
To accompany: onion and tomato raita, or a mild vegetable curry
These are fluffy rice and coconut cakes.
Cooking techniques involved: Soak in water, grind to paste, mix with grated coconut, ferment overnight with yeast (in Goa, toddy is used instead!), steam
To accompany: spicy curries
Those are just 8 rice-based dishes I sampled in South India this time. There are plenty more, which I'll come to in a later post! In the meantime, do share your favourites here...