7 South Indian Dishes To Make Your Lunches Exciting

Lunchtime dishes from South India have a rich array of flavours. Popular staples include idli, dosa, and uttapam, which are cooked from fermented rice and lentil batter. Along with them, dishes, which come with a variety of chutneys and sambar, have a wonderful harmony of spices and textures. The variety of South Indian lunches is further enhanced with rice-based dishes like lemon rice, curd rice, and traditional meals served on banana leaves, which are less known.

 The southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh are the birthplace of a rich and varied culinary culture known as South Indian cuisine. It is distinguished by its vibrant flavours, like spicy and sour flavours, fragrant spices, and frequent usage of components like tamarind, coconut, and curry leaves. 

Lunch in South India is a delicious experience, quite different from other cuisines. A variety of veggies, grains, and lentils are typical ingredients. Popular rice-based meals like lemon rice or curd rice, sambar, rasam, and curries provide a symphony of flavours and textures at the lunch table.

Here is a list of dishes from South Indian cuisine for lunch:

1. Puliyogare: 

Puliyogare is a delightful dish with a distinct taste that combines tanginess, sweetness, and spice. Steamed rice is combined with a delectable cooked mixture of tamarind pulp, jaggery, and puliyodarai powder that comprises spices like red chilli powder, mustard, asafoetida, seeds like sesame, urad dal, and curry leaves to make an aromatic spice blend. Texture is improved by adding curry leaves and peanuts. Tamarind rice creates a symphony of complimentary flavours and textures on your plate when paired with crispy papad, coconut chutney, or a refreshing raita.

Video Credit: YouTube/ Chef Ranveer Brar

2. Malabar Fish Curry:

A lunchtime favourite in South Indian cuisine, Malabar Fish Curry entices the senses with its flavourful, aromatic profile. The curry, which is made from a mixture of local spices like turmeric, tamarind, fenugreek seeds, coriander powder, etc., and coconut milk, has the ideal amount of tanginess, (as the curry also uses tamarind). The solid flesh of the fish, which is usually Malabar kingfish, mackerel or sardines, goes well with the rich, savoury sauce. For a genuine taste, pair Malabar Fish Curry with Kerala parotta or steamed rice. The subtlety of the rice or the crispy layers of the parotta are wonderfully complemented by the creamy and aromatic curry.

3. Avial With Kerala Boiled Rice:

Kerala cuisine's signature dish, avial, entices the taste buds with a distinctive fusion of flavours. Prepared with a blend of veggies, such as carrots, beans, and drumsticks, and stewed in a sauce made with ground coconut and yoghurt, avial provides a pleasing harmony of freshness and creaminess. Its fragrant profile is improved by the inclusion of curry leaves and coconut oil. Kerala boiled rice and avial combine to create a traditional and healthful dish. The simplicity of boiled rice is complemented by the subtle spices and coconut notes of avial, which results in a hearty and genuine South Indian dinner that honours Kerala's rich culinary legacy.

4. Curd Rice: 

A mainstay of South Indian lunches, curd rice satisfies with its cold, creamy texture. The cooked rice is combined with yoghurt and seasoned with curry leaves, mustard seeds, and green chillies, resulting in a flavourful combination of moderate spice and tartness. To add a touch of natural sweetness, crunch, and balance, the meal is frequently topped with fried cashew, grapes, grated carrots, finely chopped onions or pomegranate seeds. Curd rice, which is well-known for its calming properties, is not only a comfort food but also a palate-cleansing dish that finishes a South Indian lunch with a cool, pleasant flavour that lingers on the tongue. The dish can be served with a tart lime pickle, papad, poriyal or on its own.

5. Sambhar-Rice:

A nutritious and tasty dish is sambhar rice, a delicacy from South India. At its core, sambhar is a lentil-based stew flavoured with tamarind, vegetables like egg plant, carrot, beans and potatoes, and aromatic spices. A symphony of acidic, spicy, and savoury aromas is the resultant mix. The stew is really delicious when served with steamed rice, pickle,  crispy papad, or a dab of ghee. Sambar rice showcases the culinary genius of South Indian cuisine with its rich flavours and different textures, providing a complete and delicious meal.

6. Chicken Chettinad: 

The characteristic meal of the Chettinad area of Tamil Nadu, South India, is chicken chettinad, which is renowned for its strong flavours and fragrant spices. Tender chicken chunks are simmered in a thick, fragrant sauce with coconut and curry leaves, as well as a mixture of roasted spices like coriander, cumin, fennel, peppercorns, and dried red chilies. To mop up the rich sauce, the meal is usually served with steaming rice, dosa, or appam. With its powerful and spicy flavour, it goes well with dishes like parotta or vegetable biryani, elevating the entire dining experience.

7. Poriyal: 

The South Indian stir-fry dish, poriyal, has an infusion of colours and flavours. It is usually made with veggies, such as cabbage, beans, or carrots, and is spiced with grated coconut, curry leaves, urad dal, and mustard seeds. Stir-frying brings out the natural flavour of the vegetables and adds a satisfying crunch. As a tasty side dish for rice and sambar, poriyal goes well with traditional South Indian dishes. Its adaptability makes it a healthy and nutritious addition to South Indian cuisine, which is renowned for its harmony of flavours and fragrant spices, and it can be used to enhance a variety of main courses.