From Nethili 65 To Seedai: 8 Snacks From Tamil Nadu You Must Try

Although dosa and chicken Chettinad are popular in Tamil Nadu, it would be a disservice to the state to associate it with only these dishes. Tamil Nadu is also home to tasty snacks that range from deep-fried to healthier ones. From snacks made specifically for festivals to those served in households at tea time, here are eight snacks from Tamil Nadu that you must try: 

Nethili 65

Nethili 65 is a quintessential Tamil snack made by marinating anchovies in yogurt, lemon juice and spices, coating them in rice flour, and then deep frying them. The resulting dish is crispy, owing to the use of rice flour. Best enjoyed hot, nethili 65 is served as an evening snack with lemon wedges. 


Usually sweet, kozhukattai can also be savoury. The outer covering of this snack is made with rice flour, and the inner filling uses grated coconut and jaggery. Within Tamil Nadu, the snack is associated with Lord Ganesha and is prepared as an offering during the festival of Vinayaka Chathurthi.


Similar to matthi, thatta is a crispy snack made with rice flour, roasted gram, garlic and pepper. The dough is rolled into circles and deep fried until golden brown. Thatta is mainly prepared during festivals or served during tea time. In Karnataka, thatta is known as nippattu and as chekkalu in Andhra Pradesh. 

Masala vada

Masala vada is a kind of fritter made with chana dal, onions, ginger, dried red chilli and curry leaves. To prepare the snack, chana dal is soaked in water and then used to form a thick paste. Along with the spices, the paste is shaped into round patties and deep fried in hot oil. Masala vada is usually served with spicy chutneys. 


Seedai is a traditional Tamil snack that is offered as naivedyam to Lord Krisha during Krishna Jayanthi or Gokulashtami. It is spherical in shape, made with a dough of rice flour, urad dal flour, grated coconut, salt and chilli powder. The balls are deep fried until they turn brown. It is slightly time-consuming to make but very tasty. 


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Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, susiyam is made using chana dal, jaggery, roasted coconut and cardamom. To make susiyam, balls of soaked chana dal, jaggery, coconut and cardamom powder are coated in a maida and rice flour batter. These are deep fried until golden, resulting in a sweet treat. 


Adhirasam is a donut-like pastry that is similar to vadai but is sweet rather than savoury. It is especially popular during Diwali, prepared both in homes and temples across Tamil Nadu. A mixture of rice flour, jaggery and cardamom is shaped into donuts or vadai and deep fried. Adhirasam is also found in Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Odia and Chhattisgarhi cuisine. 


In Tamil, ‘pongal’ refers to boiling or bubbling up. Pongal is a savoury snack that’s usually served for breakfast. It is a kind of porridge made by cooking rice and lentils in ghee. The savoury version of the dish is called ‘venn pongal’, and the sweet version is known as ‘chakarai pongal’.