If you enjoy South Indian cuisine, you are aware that rice plays a significant role in most of the regional cuisines of India's southern states. Rice is a staple food in South India since it is grown by one of the country's largest rice cultivators. Rice is used to make a variety of dishes, from aromatic biryanis to rich desserts.
Now you must be thinking: Rice is so boring and tasteless! I do not disagree here, because there are five exciting South Indian dishes that you can make at home with rice.
Tamarind rice is one of the most popular cuisines in South India. It's a tangy meal that includes rice, channa dal, and urad dal that's been infused with tamarind pulp flavour.
Dry roast three red chillies, fenugreek, sesame and coriander seeds on a pan. Grind them to a paste to form the spice base for the dish. Heat the sesame oil in a wok or kadhai, and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric, and two red chillies. Once these ingredients are tempered, add the urad and chana dal. Stir a bit, then add the tamarind water. Cook till the dal is done, and the mix turns into a thick, brown paste. Take it off the heat, and mix it gently with the cooked rice. Garnish with roasted peanuts, and serve.
Curd rice, called Thayir Saadam in Tamil, is popular throughout South India. This is the first “South Indian” rice dish that comes to mind for anyone who is even remotely aware of South Indian cuisine. There are multiple ways of making curd rice. You can either just literally mix curd and rice, or if you want to do something fancy.
Mix together the rice, curd, green chillies, coriander leaves and salt in a large bowl. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the rest of the ingredients. Once they stop spluttering, swirl the pan a bit, and turn the heat off. Pour the tempering over the curd rice, and serve. You can have this dish as a meal, even when you have a stomach infection or fever.
Lemon rice is also famous in Karnataka, where it is known as 'Chitranna'. Turmeric powder gives the rice its beautiful yellow colour. The peanuts offer a crunch to the dish, and the lemon juice comes in just when you need it to gratify your taste senses.
Heat the oil in a wok, and add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, dried red chilli, asafoetida, green chillies, ginger, turmeric and curry leaves. Cook the mix till the dal is completely cooked. Season with salt. Mix together the rice, lemon juice and cashews in a separate bowl. Add the cooked tempering to the rice, and mix well till the whole rice turns pale yellow. Serve it hot or cold.
Coconut rice isn't just a South Indian speciality. This meal is popular in South and Southeast Asia, as well as Latin America, because coconut and rice farms may be found all over the world.
In India, basmati rice is used, which is a unique variety native to the Indian subcontinent. Coconut milk is used to add coconut flavour.
Heat the oil in a wok or kadhai and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida. Once it stops spluttering, add the chana and urad dal, green chilli, ginger and salt. Cook the mix till the dal is cooked. Now add the coconut, and cook it till it turns brown. Finally, add the rice and mix everything together. Serve the coconut rice hot.
Pulihora is a popular south Indian dish that can quickly be found in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The word puli in its name means sour, reflecting the tangy flavour of the dish. However, spicy, salty and jaggery flavours that are also present in the dish are well balanced with the sour tamarind.
It consists of rice, turmeric, tamarind, curry leaves, coriander, ginger, and green chiles. Additionally, yellow lentils, roasted sesame seed powder, and mustard seeds can be added to enhance the already rich flavours of the dish.
You can now mix the ingredients with steamed rice in small quantities depending upon how tangy and how spicy you want the rice to be. Allow the rice to rest in this tangy flavour for at least 20 minutes before serving. The pulihora is now ready to be served.
These South Indian rice dishes are very light and delicious. In fact, you don't need much effort to cook them, and you definitely won't feel hot, heavy or bloated after eating them. They are perfect treats for you!