SOUTH INDIAN - Summer 2024 (Jul-Sept) Cuisine of the Quarter

We’re going spicy this summer, with SOUTH INDIAN as our latest Cuisine of the Quarter! According to @Saregama, one of our resident experts and the original nominator of this cuisine, this category includes dishes from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Wikipedia mentions a couple of others: South India, also known as Southern India or Peninsular India, is the southern part of the Deccan Peninsula in India encompassing the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Indian_cuisine Either way, we’re sure to enjoy a wealth of fabulous flavors this quarter. Happy cooking, HOs!

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I really enjoy Keralan seafood at restaurants. I plan to make this soon.

Yes I didn’t write Andhra Pradesh & Telangana in my nom so shame on me! Lol.

(Telangana didn’t exist when I was growing up, it was split out of AP in 2014, and took with it Hyderabad — of Hyderabadi biryani and pearls fame, as well as the ignominious end of the Mughal dynasty — as its capital; I just had to look up the capital of the “new” AP, which is Amaravati and not its largest city of Visakhapatnam / Vizag. Telangana is also the only landlocked southern state, no coastline.)

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SEMIYAN (VERMICELLI) UPMA

Upma / uppuma is a common and popular breakfast most often made from rava / cream of wheat.

I first encountered the noodle version in Hyderabad.

Today’s version was very similar to that first one — onions, tomatoes, ginger, curry leaves, cashews.

I’ve made this before with other vegetables added. Cabbage works well.

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Striped bass, with a coconut, tomato, and tamarind sauce in the style of Andhra. My write up is in the Cooking From: Gunpowder thread:

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Looks lovely!

You’ll never find a fish curry in India where the fish isn’t cooked in the curry – which flavors both the fish and the curry.

But I often see fish curry “deconstructed” in the US (and apparently the UK, give that this recipe is from a UK restaurant) – I imagine out of either a desire for the visual presentation to be appealing to the western eye, or out of a fear of “overcooking” (by western standards) the fish in the sauce.

(I’ve become a bit paranoid myself about the latter, so I’ll sometimes remove the fish to a plate after poaching it in the curry till cooked to my liking. Others think I’m silly when I do this :sweat_smile:)

Might also be because fish in India is (or used to be) almost always bone-in, not fillets, and fillets fall apart a lot more easily.

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Oh, it’s definitely deconstructed. Ironically, I mentioned to BF that when we revisit the leftover sauce, I am absolutely cooking the fish in it! As much as I enjoy crispy skin, I enjoy the fish absorbing the sauce that much more :grinning:

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I had a (Kerala) Meen Moilee / Molly with pomfret recently that was just lovely.

The prep is very mild, almost under-spiced to the Indian palate, and yet lovely with its predominantly coconut milk and curry leaf flavors.

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Looks delicious!

I made some idli today for dinner. I cheated a bit and used pre-made idli mix:

I also used some pre-made coconut chutney from Deep, which was not bad:

I did make a tomato chutney to go with it, followed this recipe:

And I also made some rasam, following this recipe though I subbed brown sugar for jaggery:

I thought the tomato chutney and the rasam came out pretty well. The idli came out pretty well too but maybe a little wetter than what I’ve had at Indian restaurants. Anyone have tips on that?

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Looking good!

When you say “wet” what exactly do you mean?

Were the tops of the idlis sticky? Then they may need to sit for a few minutes to let the moisture reabsorb.

Or were the idlis a bit under-set / sticky? Then they might need to steam a bit longer.

Sometimes the batter consistency needs to be adjusted slightly if it’s too thick, but be very careful — if you overdo the water you have to switch to dosa :joy:.

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Yeah I guess the outside was a little sticky but also the inside was a little bit wetter than I thought it would be. The ones I’ve had at restaurants I remember having a more sponge like drier texture. I’ll try steaming it a little longer and also let it sit longer. Thanks for the tips!

Sounds like they were a bit undercooked. If you have any left over, reheat covered on low power and that should take care of it.

(Kudos on making idlis — these are among many fussy indian dishes that many people never attempt, even though they’re not that hard once you get the hang of it. Put the same batter in a cake pan and cut into diamonds or squares and you’ll have Dhokla :wink:)

Oh wait — did you use any Eno or baking soda? That might have been the missing piece.

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I just poured the mix from the container - the instructions on the back just said to oil the idli maker, put the mix in the cooker, and steam for 11 minutes. I made them again today and cooked longer and also let sit for a bit - they came out a little better but still a little on the wet side, will try cooking even longer next time, or maybe try another brand. Or maybe I need to just try some more restaurant idli and recalibrate my expectations :slight_smile:

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When you go back to the store buy something called Eno fruit salt (or from Amazon). (Or if you have citric acid powder at home, it’s a blend of that and baking soda.)

Fresh idli batter shouldn’t need any leavening help. However a pinch of Eno is used quite commonly for store-bought.

Take enough (room temp) batter in a bowl for what you want to make, add 1/2 - 1 tsp of Eno and stir through (it will get a bit foamy), then put into the oiled cavities and steam.

That should fix the issue.

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Will look for that, thanks!

Today I tried making dosas using pre made batter

I used the filling recipe from here:

I thought they came out pretty well but I could have made them a little thinner.

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Very ambitious!

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They look pretty good! Fist couple of times making Dosa is a bit difficult. Gets much easier with practice. Thinning the Batter usually helps to make thinner Dosas (Dosi?).
Using the back of your Ladle to spread it in a spiral starting at the Center also will help.
I find that using Cast Iron or other uncoated Pans is better for color, flavor and crispiness.

An Observation: It does not look like the Batter is “active”. Was it bubbly / frothy before cooking?

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Here’s a video from back during lock down where Sohla El-Waylly teaches how to make dosa:

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