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South Indian Food Culture

Discuss about the South Indian Food and Culture.

The Indian societies are involved with the one of the most exciting and richest cultural traditions since ages. Therefore, the Indian culture is accepted as the oldest civilization in the world. The cultural trait and the festivals are quite important for the Indian culture. The southern zone of India is quite renowned for the spices and spicy foods. Mahadevan, Blair and Raines (2014) implied that the Indian Cuisine is generally characterized by the use of the herbs, spices, and other vegetables grow in the different parts of India. The food culture is also different in different parts of India. People from different societies adopt the different techniques of preparing food. The taste and the dishes are different to other parts of the Indian cultures (Anderson 2014). It is important to state that the cultural aspects and the religious beliefs influence the Indian cuisine much significantly. The study will provide the insights regarding the South Indian Food and Culture that is completely different to the dishes from the other parts of the country. The impact of the traditional choices in selecting the foods will also be described in this study.

The foods available in the South Indian States are categorized into six different tastes, such as salt, sweet, bitter, sour, astringent, and pungent. As per the Tamil society, it is necessary to add these tastes in each of the main meals. It has been noted that these six tastes are quite capable of balancing between the appetite and digestions (Unika and Jaffar 2014). South India is mostly famous for the coconut, root tubers, and various types of fishes. Rice is the main food in South India and people have rice with curry or S?mbhar. Quite generous yet the balanced use of the different spices in the foods is available in the vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods in South India (Shree and Pandian 2016). South Indians prefer milk, sweet cream, ghee, rice, butter, and honey for the sweet tastes. In sour, they prefer citrus fruits, mango, limes and lemon, yogurt, and tamarind.  As the salty preferences, South Indians have salt or pickles. They even have some greens of many kinds, bitter gourd, and turmeric. Some of the pungent spices like ginger, clove, chili peppers, and mustard are added to the food prepared by the South Indians (Chinese et al. 2017). The food culture of South Indians is categorized by depending on the different purposes. The traditional touches in their foods are quite visible. Moreover, it is also noticed that South India is much attractive for the national and international tourists (Haldiramusa.com 2017). The people maintain their cultural heritage in treating the tourists. They maintain a proper etiquette while offering foods or treating people.

Types of Foods

The foods for the Breakfast in South India contain the main dishes like uppuma, idlis, dosas, vadas, chapattis, and savory pongal. These items are especially served with kurma, sambhar, chutney, or vada curry. These are mainly seen in Tamil Nadu. The filter coffee accompanies the breakfast in the morning (Sreeramulu et al. 2013).

In usual cases, the South Indian menu contains at least three to four dishes along with rice.  The people from South India usually start their meal with the traditional parappu mixed with ghee. This mixture is served with rice that is mainly taken as an appetizer (Unika and Jaffar 2014). The next preparation is sambhar or kuzambhu and it is served as the main course by mixing up with rice. During the festivals, the South Indians two main course of Kuzhambus, that are available in different types and forms.

It is to be specified that the climate of South India is quite hot and humid. The people from the coastal zones have to face such humid and hot weather (Chinese et al. 2017). Due to the lesser amount of rainfall, most of the vegetables, fresh fruits, and rice are supplied. Apart from the larger amount of the vegetarian cuisines, there is the huge range of the seafood available in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh. The Chettinad cuisine from Tamilnadu is most popular among the Indians. The Malabari Cooking from Kerala is much famous for the repertoire of the delicious dishes of seafood. Hyderabad, the home of Nizams is famous for the flavorful spicy dishes with the blend of regal Nizami food style. The blend of the sour and spicy flavor is making the food superior in taste. Generally, the foods from Hyderabad are mixed up with dried fruits, nuts, and other expensive spices, such as saffron.

South Indian cuisine is much demanding for all Indians. Rice or rice-based dishes prepare most of the dishes by blending Sambhar and rasam. Apart from this food, some of the meat dishes, vegetable curry, or coconut-based chutneys are also served (Chinese et al. 2017). The demands for the staple food are higher in South India. It is to be stated that the south Indian meals are incomplete without idlis or boiled rice. Daals, dosas, or Uttapams are also added to their meals.

Be it frying or cooking, the South Indians mostly use the coconut oil for preparing their foods. Apart from this coconut oil, they also use canola and sunflower vegetable oils. It is noticed that the South Indian people have the tendency to pour ghee over rice in their daily meals as well as the occasional purposes (Unika and Jaffar 2014). They use curry leaves, pepper, asafetida, and mustard as the main spices for their foods.

Cultural and Geographical Influence on South Indian Foods

In South India, filtered coffee is the most demanding and popular beverage. A normal South Indian person cannot stay without coffee since it is considered as the social institute of the Tamil Tradition. It is essential for the South Indians to have at least one cup of coffee once a day. The filtered coffee is the unique part of this state. The people in South India mostly prefer gourmet coffee beans that are less expensive than the Arabica variety. In some of the cases, it has been noticed people add the chicory for enhancing aroma of the Coffee (Chinese et al. 2017). They even prefer to consume the coffee prepared with the roasted and powered coffee beans. In some of the cases, it has been observed they separate coffee powder dust by applying the filtering process. Apart from the coffee, they even prefer the brewed tea that is available in the small tea stores across the adjoining areas of Tamil Nadu.

The drinking and eating cultures of India is widely respected in the traditional, cultural and religious aspects. According to (Unika and Jaffar (2014), maintaining the proper etiquette of South Indian culture is completely different to the other parts of the country. There are numerous types of utensils used for different purposes. It has been observed that the people from South India do not use the cutlery for eating any food. They often enjoy the food by eating with the hand. They maintain the traditional approach while eating by their hand. They believe that food is divine due to which every individual should enjoy the food with smell, touch, and taste (Chinese et al. 2017). They do not feel pleasure in touching and eating the food with spoon or fork. One of the most attractive parts of the South Indian culture is their food habits and the etiquettes. People wash their hands properly before start eating. There is the traditional saying that the long nails are very unhygienic for people. They belive that the food can be easily scooped if the individuals are using their hands instead of spoons or fork. They even consider that the food should be eater by the tip of the fingers and it will be considered as the bad manner if someone put the stain outside of the fingers or palms.  A little bit of practices would be beneficial in adopting such cultural etiquettes.

Style of South Indian Food

However, it is also noted that there are some of the foods that cannot be eaten without using the spoons or forks. For example, while having the soup or daal, it is essential to use spoon. Moreover, they sometimes even attend the formal occasions or restaurants where the banana leaf is not used for serving food (Shree and Pandian 2016). However, the traditional approaches in the South Indian cutlery is not prioritizing the spoon or forks too eat the food. These spoons and forks are limited in the kitchen. During the formal situations, they use the spoons to serve the food to others. In addition to this, it is also noted that they use the spoons in a very clasping motion. The forks are mainly used in order to distribute the foods from a collective space. This culture is followed since they believe that it is very rude to touch others’ foods.

The South Indians maintain the proper etiquette while dining with people. They always use their right hands for receiving or eating foods. They do not use the left hand since they believe it would much insulting to eat or receive foods with left hand (Shree and Pandian 2016). The Hindus from South India respect the beefs and animals as they find the cattle sacred. On the other hand, the Muslims do not eat pork as they find it very unclean. The people from South India are culturally very rich in culture. They have the traditional belief that the younger people would not start eating before their elders. When the eldest member arrives, the entire family starts eating together. In such cases, the elder takes the participation of being a host. They always wash their hands properly before they start eating. They found offering “Echal” is unhygienic and rude for an individual. “Echal” is a food part that comes in contacts with the saliva or mouth (Unika and Jaffar 2014). They also pay attention towards the eating manner and polite behaviour. The attribute they maintain to offer foods or dining with the closed people are much commendable.

More specifically, it can be stated that the people belong to South Indian cultures maintain a manner for eating food. The traditional touches in their foods are quite visible. Moreover, it is also noticed that South India is much attractive for the national and international tourists. The people maintain their cultural heritage in treating the tourists (Shree and Pandian 2016). They maintain a proper etiquette while offering foods or treating people. Hence, the reflection of their cultural trait is visible in their eating etiquettes and in various types of foods. The cuisine from Andhra has the greater impact of the Mughals. Most of the foods prepared in Andhra Pradesh are mixed up with extra spices (Unika and Jaffar 2014). The impact of the food cultures is commendable. The effects of such South Indian foods on Indian people are much remarkable. More specifically, the foodie Indians enjoy every bit of the menu served in the states of South India.

Conclusion

The study explores the food and cultural attributes of South India. The people from South India prefer more spice on their foods. The food culture is also different in different parts of India. People from different societies adopt the different techniques of preparing food. The taste and the dishes are different to other parts of the Indian cultures. Quite generous yet the balanced use of the different spices in the foods is available in the vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods in South India. South Indians prefer milk, sweet cream, ghee, rice, butter, and honey for the sweet tastes. They maintain the proper etiquette to eat with their hands. Moreover, the foods are served in different utensils. It is necessary to indicate that the South Indian foods are prepared by focusing on the traditional acceptability.  The traditional touches in their foods are quite visible. Moreover, it is also noticed that South India is much attractive for the national and international tourists. The people maintain their cultural heritage in treating the tourists. They maintain a proper etiquette while offering foods or treating people. 

References

Adger, W.N., Barnett, J., Brown, K., Marshall, N. and O'brien, K., 2013. Cultural dimensions of climate change impacts and adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 3(2), pp.112-117.

Anderson, E.N., 2014. Everyone eats: Understanding food and culture. NYU Press.

Anderson, E.N., 2014. Everyone eats: Understanding food and culture. NYU Press.

Chinese, I., Calorie, L., Cooking, M. and Breakfast, I., 2017. South Indian Cuisine - South Indian Food - South Indian Cuisines. [online] Indian Food Forever. Available at: <https://www.indianfoodforever.com/food-guide/south-indian-cuisine.html> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2017].

Fieldhouse, P., 2013. Food and nutrition: customs and culture. Springer.

Haldiramusa.com, 2017. History of Indian Food. [online] Haldiramusa.com. Available at: <https://www.haldiramusa.com/History_Indian_Food.htm> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2017].

Mahadevan, M., Blair, D. and Raines, E.R., 2014. Changing food habits in a South Indian Hindu Brahmin community: a case of transitioning gender roles and family dynamics. Ecology of food and nutrition, 53(6), pp.596-617.

Shree, J.S. and Pandian, A.S.S., 2016. Factors Influencing the Consumption Pattern of Butter in Chennai City, Tamil Nadu. Indian Vet. J, 93(10), pp.69-71.

Sreeramulu, D., Reddy, C.V.K., Chauhan, A., Balakrishna, N. and Raghunath, M., 2013. Natural antioxidant activity of commonly consumed plant foods in India: effect of domestic processing. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2013.

Unika, D. and Jaffar, A.M., 2014. A study on consumer behaviour towards instant food products in Tamilnadu. International Journal of Business and Administration Research Review, 3(5).

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[Accessed 29 February 2024].

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