Vegetarian Paradise: 7 Plant-Based Dishes In South Indian Food
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South Indian cuisine is an umbrella term used for the wide variety of dishes and food practices from the five south Indian states, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu. All of the states have a very autonomous food culture that might look similar to other states from the third-person perspective but is quite different. 

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One of the major USPs of South Indian Food is the pervasive use of Indian spices and coconut. A general misconception about South Indian food is the fact that it heavily relies on seafood and non-vegetarian dishes. Seafood and other non-vegetarian dishes are indeed an important part of South Indian cuisine, but it is also factually correct that South Indian food consists of a lot of vegan recipes. Here are some of the top plant-based dishes in South India that one can try.

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* Lemon Rasam

Rasam is often confused with Sambar. However, Rasam and Sambar are different things. Rasam is a thin stew-like dish that is made by combining different types of spices, such as red chilli, Garam masala, turmeric, and many other spices. People also like to add cilantro, mustard seeds, and lemon juice inside this thin stew that is served with freshly boiled rice. The aroma of this dish is irresistible, and it is also very light on the stomach. 

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* Masala Dosa

Masala dosa is a dish that is popular throughout India and is consumed in all parts. Masala dosa is made with a batter of lentils and rice. This batter is cooked on a flat pan, and inside the dosa, a mixture of some boiled potatoes mixed with spices is added. The dosa is then turned over like a roll and cooked from all sides. It is a completely plant-based dish that is generally served with some Sambar or coconut chutney. The dish is also quite healthy.

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* Soft Idli

Idli is made by steaming a batter made from fermented rice and lentils. What makes idli so healthy is the fact that they are steamed and do not require any oil. There are so many ways to customise idlis. One simple way is to add a lot of vegetables to the idli batter and then cook it. This type of Idli can be eaten all by itself without using any side dish like chutney. A lot of people also like to dip idlis in some sambhar along with coconut chutney and peanut chutney

* Mint Biryani

Most people think that biryani is only available in non-vegetarian varieties. It is important to acknowledge that it is not the meat that makes a biryani but the way that rice is layered and how it is prepared. The process of making biryani is very meticulous, as one must layer the rice and other ingredients properly. Mint biryani is prepared using some garden peas and a lot of mint leaves to give the rice a refreshing flavour. Spices are used frugally to keep the flavour subtle.

* Parippu Dal

Parippu Dal is prepared in Kerala style using red lentils that are cooked in a lot of coconut milk and some ground spices like cumin seed powder, curry leaves, cardamom and turmeric. The dishes are extremely popular in South India and are generally served with some steamed rice. On top of that, people would also like to add some tempered whole red chillies and desi ghee for that final touch.

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* Appam

Appam is like a South Indian version of pancakes that comes in a lot of varieties. A famous variety of Appam is made using a batter of coconut and rice. This recipe is also very prevalent in Sri Lanka, where it is called hoppers. The dish can be consumed for both breakfast and dinner as it is light-year and extremely nutritious. The pancakes have a savoury taste and are generally consumed with some sambar or coconut chutney on the side. One can also add some vegetables to the batter of the appam if they want to make it more nutritious. 

* Pongal

Pongal is also called South Indian khichadi. It is a dish that is a comfort food for many people and is also cooked on special occasions. The dish is like a porridge made of lentils and rice. After most of the water is dried out, a lot of melted ghee, clarified butter, different types of dry fruits, and mustard seeds are used to give it a delectable flavour. It is a typical South Indian dish that satisfies the soul.