The most popular food items from Southern India are the Dosa, Idli, Medu Vada and Uttapam. Served along with the lip smacking sambhar these foods have become synonymous with Indian Culture - North, East, West or South. Though very popular as breakfast items these are ubiquitously consumed as main dishes as well for lunch and dinner.
Expert culinary recipes may exist in South but these foods find connoisseurs every where in the country. The local offerings come with their own flavors a characteristic regional touch. One man's dosa is another man's poison does not apply to this wonderful gastronomic delight.
Anywhere in India idli dosa are devoured with haste and gluttony. This cuisine is available from street joints to five star cafes and hotels in India.
Most popular of the foods is the dosa made of mixture of lentil and rice flour. The mix is fermented and then ground to a fine paste. Then a thin crispy pan cake is made on a pan sprinkled with oil of ghee. The dosa is then filled with spiced potato mash lightly sauteed. The dish is served with sambhaar which is a spicy and sour soup and chutney made of curd, coconut, chilly and some spices.
This is made by mixing urad dal and rice flour which is then fermented overnight. The mixture is than placed in a utensil with moulds that give a round oval shape to the preparation. The utensil is then placed in a cooker and steamed till the idli's become soft and edible. The dish is served with same accompaniments as the dosa.
This is like the other two pan fried dishes. But unlike the dosai Uttapam is a thick pancake filled with tomato, onion and sprinkled with gree chilly and coriander. The batter is a mix of one part urad dal and three part rice.
This doughnut shaped dish is very popular as breakfast item along with the above. The batter is made from dal, gram flour, and sometimes potato. The doughnut shape arises whence it is deep fried in oil or ghee. The accompaniment is usually sambhar and chutney.
These South Indian recipes come in mind boggling variations depending upon the region they are made from. The rava items are a common variant. The filling vary a lot in the dosa from cheese to onions and event mince meat are used as filings at times.