8 South Indian Rice Delight For Your Dinner
Image Credit: Coconut Rice | Image Credit: Google.com

If you are a South Indian food lover, you must have noticed that rice is an integral part of South Indian meals. South India is one of the largest producers of rice, which makes the dish a staple food. We are all aware of the everyday boiled rice; however, if you want to make something special and easy at home, there are several flavorful rice recipes that the southern region of India carries.

Most special rice dishes are tempered with whole spices and curry leaves. The specialty of rice dishes in South India is the addition of tanginess. This tangy flavour comes from mango, tamarind, curd, tomato, lemon, and other sour ingredients. However, they are quite well adjusted to the sweetness of coconut or milk.

If you want to try something different for dinner, here are some special rice recipes. Take a look:

1. Puliyogare (Tamarind Rice)

Puliyogare is often referred to as tamarind rice. The dish tastes different in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. It is mostly served during festive occasions and is served as "prasad" in many temples. Tempered rye, toasted peanuts, and curry leaves cooked in gingelly oil with various spices are cooked with tamarind pulp to make the puliyogre mix in the form of a paste. Hot boiled rice is then mixed with it to make a tart and nutty puliyogre that exudes an excellent aroma of gingelly oil.

2. Sambar Rice

This rice preparation is an everyday staple in most Tamilian households or most South Indian homes. Sambar is like a wholesome curry made of lentils and a whole lot of veggies like drumsticks, brinjal, potatoes, ash gourd, pumpkin, carrots, beans, and more. A seasoning of spice mix and the addition of tamarind pulp along with cooked dal make it a wholesome concoction that is later tempered with some rye, red chillies, asafoetida, and curry leaves. The piping-hot sambar is mixed with steamed rice, making it a bowl of comfort. Sambar rice can be accompanied by papad, pickles, or shallow-fried potatoes to complete the taste of the dish.

3. Ellu Sadam

This South Indian preparation is made with rice, sesame seeds, and a few other flavourful ingredients like ghee, urad dal, and more. The rice is specially made during Makar Sankranti as an offering to God and distributed as prasadam. It has a nutty flavour that can pair well with a kosambari salad, yogurt, or even some tart pickles. It is a vegan recipe and a comforting weekday meal that can be packed for school or office lunch boxes.

4. Lemon Rice

This is one of the most popular South Indian rice dishes. It is popularly eaten for breakfast as well, along with pickles or coconut chutney. During popular festivals like Dussehra, Ugadi, etc., this flavoured rice makes its way to the lunch tables of many South Indian families. It is an easy recipe to make, where one needs only the juice of one or two lemons and simple ingredients like turmeric, curry leaves, urad dal, onions, green chillies, groundnuts, and mustard to make this tangy and indulgent rice. The dish is also referred to as Chitranna or Nimmakaya Pulihora.

5. Mango Rice

This seasonally flavourful rice is made with raw mango-coconut masala. It is popularly consumed in south Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. On hot summer days, this raw mango rice is a refreshing dish to savour with some kosambari or a cucumber lentil salad. It is an easy homemade recipe that is similar to the lemon rice recipe, which has a perfect balance of sourness from the unripe mangoes instead and subtle sweetness from fresh coconut.

6. Coconut Rice

Made from grated coconut, lentils, herbs, and spices, this rice recipe is a popular one in states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. The rice is sautéed with an equal amount of freshly grated coconut and tempered with curry leaves, green chillies and rye for added flavour. The dish is served on special occasions and tastes excellent with a spicey gravy or avial, which is a lentil preparation.

7. Vegetable Bagara Rice

This dish is famous in the Telangana region of southern India. It is made with whole spices, mint, coriander leaves, and lots of veggies. It is served during occasions like festivals or weddings. It goes well with non-vegetarian items like mutton korma, mutton curry, chicken curry, or keema curry. Vegetarians may pair this main course with a relish like bagara baingan or mirchi ka salan.

8. Ven Pongal

Pongal is a popular South Indian porridge, somewhat similar to a runny kichdi. It is made with rice and yellow moong lentils as the base ingredients. However, ven pongal is a savoury version of pongal. Ingredients like black peppercorns, cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves, and ginger are tempered in ghee and mixed with cooked rice and lentils to make this hearty and flavoursome rice dish that can be enjoyed by people of all ages including toddlers.