Dinners in South Indian homes are usually simple affairs, at least when compared to the richness and variety of dishes included in breakfast or lunch.
But no matter that, some form of rice and lentils are usually still present, making the meals nourishing and fulfilling.
Here are some dinner ideas for when you don’t want to eat lunch leftovers.
Malabar Parotta & Curry
Malabar parotta is a flaky, layered flatbread akin to the North Indian parathas. Commonly referred to as Kerala parotta, they are usually eaten with a gravy dish such as chicken, beef or veg curry.
What’s interesting is that while these are a part of Kerala and Tamil Nadu’s cuisines, parotta has its origins in Sri Lanka and was brought to these South Indian states by labourers.
Parottas also make for a great base when you want to make rolls or wraps for a quick breakfast.
Those of you who are familiar with South Indian cuisine would agree that we find numerous ways to make our rice dishes more flavourful and diverse.
Puliyogare or puliyodharai is nothing but tamarind rice.
If you’ve got some plain boiled rice handy, make the tamarind paste and mix it with rice. The slightly salty, tangy flavour of puliyogare is balanced by the flavours of roasted peanuts, mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Idiyappam & Kadala
Idiyappam, also known as noolappam, is not spoken of nearly as much as it should be.
To describe it would do it no justice, so we highly recommend that you try it if you can.
Somewhat similar in appearance to noodles, the stringy texture of idiyappam comes from rice flour being churned out into palm-sized bundles using an idiyappam maker.
They don’t have much of a taste except for the nuttiness of the rice and coconut flakes, which is why they go perfectly with a bowl of savoury-spicy gravy made of chickpeas (kadala).
Not too different from dosa, pesarattu is a dish from Andhra Pradesh. It is a crisp, thin crepe made of green gram or mung beans.
Once you make or buy the batter, you’ll be able to prepare plates of pesarattu in no time.
It is best enjoyed with chutney on the side, but if you want to move along the preparation process, pickles would do the job too.
A cornerstone of Tamilian culture, pongal is made by pressure cooking rice and moong dal with a tempering added to it afterwards.
It is traditionally prepared for the festival of Pongal and has the consistency of porridge.
This is one of the best comfort foods you can have.
Kappa & Fish
Kappa & fish is such a traditional Kerala dish that you can’t make a culinary trip down South and miss out on hearing about it.
Made of steamed and mashed tapioca root that is seasoned with coconut paste, chillies and curry leaves, kappa is nutritious because of its organic composition.
Pair it with a mouth-watering fish gravy and you’ll be looking forward to dinnertime all evening.
Got some inspiration for making dinner at home? We have more such posts for you. Check out our 7 days of rice dishes blog post.We have also prepared a vegan guide to South Indian dishes for those who are looking for healthy and tasty vegan foods.