Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu is the third-largest city in India. Be it beaches, religious places, educational institutes or historical sites, Chennai has it all. A lot is said about all these places already. What we must tell you is that Chennai is a foodie’s paradise! It serves a few of the yummiest vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. While filtered coffee and rice is something that you will find at every nook and corner, there are some food items that you certainly mustn’t miss when you visit Chennai. South India savories are totally drool-worthy and theyll leave you craving for more, even when your tummy is full! Check out the list of delicacies below and make sure that you tick them all off when you are in Chennai!
1. Kuzhi Paniyaram
Kuzhi Paniyaram is a Tamil dish made by steaming batter, which is made from pulses and rice. This is available in sweet as well as spicy form. The spicy paniyaram includes sauteed onions and green chillies. The best thing about this dish is that it stays well-preserved on long trips too. So, you can pack some for your return journey.
2. Kothu Parotta
Non-vegetarians should certainly try the Kottu Parotta, made using eggs, meat and salna, a spicy sauce. Variants of Kothu Parotta are Muttai Kothu Parotta, Chilli Parotta. This is a popular street food and it’s advisable to try it at a roadside shop rather than a restaurant.
Puttu is a super delicious breakfast dish of steamed cylinders of ground rice layered with coconut. It is served with side dishes such as palm sugar or chickpea curry or banana. Ahoy, seafood lovers! Puttu tastes quite good with fish curry too.
4. Bisi bele bath (bhath)
Bisi bele bath, which literally translates to hot lentil rice is a rice-based dish. The traditional preparation of bisi bele bath includes the use of spicy masala, toor dal, vegetables and spices like nutmeg, asafoetida, curry leaves and tamarind pulp. Served with papad or potato chips, if you swear by rice for lunch, dinner and brunch, you certainly mustn’t miss Bisi bele bath in Chennai!
Appam refers to a type of South Indian pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. There are several variations of appam. Egg appam, honey appam, palappam (extra thick coconut milk/cream is added) and much more are listed on the menu.
6. Puliyogare rice
Puliyogare or tamarind rice is yet another rice preparation thatll make your mouth water long after the taste has left your palette. It is made using steamed or boiled rice mixed with tamarind paste, groundnuts or peanuts, coriander, coconut, red chili, curry leaves, jaggery, pepper, mustard seeds, fenugreek, turmeric, asafoetida, urad dal, and cumin. It tastes even better with Thengai (coconut) chutney and boiled and salted chickpea.
Idiyappam is a traditional dish consisting of rice flour pressed into noodle form and then steamed. It is generally served with egg, potato, fish or meat curry. Try eating it with a spicy curry as it makes a great combo.
Chana Sundal is a South Indian stir-fried dish made with white chickpeas. It is a dry legume-lentil preparation, spiced and tempered with fresh coconut. It is highly appetizing!
Murukku is a crunchy snack, whose name is derived from the Tamil word for twisted, referring to its shape. It is made from rice flour and urad dal flour. Its a great munch-on during trips or while watching TV. One can even eat it while sipping a drink too!
10. Chicken Chettinad
Chicken Chettinad is a classic Indian recipe made using Roast dry red chillies, coconut, poppy seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel seeds, ginger and garlic. Chicken Chettinads aroma is enough to tempt you to eat it every single day of your trip to Chennai!
Moving on to the desserts
11. Mysore Pak
Mysore Pak is a sweet dish prepared in butter with generous amounts of ghee, sugar, gram flour and often cardamom. This sweet concoction is so tasty and it melts in the mouth as soon as it touches the tongue. It’s certainly a must eat!
There are several varieties of Payasam, which include rice payasam, sevai payasam, paruppu payasam. This sweet delicacy is made by boiling rice, broken wheat, tapioca, vermicelli with milk and sugar. It is flavored with dry fruits.
Kozhukkatta is a popular Indian sweet dumpling made from rice flour, grated coconut, and jaggery. It is similar to modaks available in other parts of India. You could end your meal with this sweet dish and then retire to a sweet slumber.
If you think we have missed an item, don’t forget to mention it in the comments!