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Idli

Soft, fluffy, and loved by all ages - meet the Idly, the real superstar of Madras.

A breakfast favorite at both homes and tiffin messes, our paati's (grandmother) idlis were a staple in our tiffin boxes.

We've recreated some of her classic recipes and concocted one of our own. Just remember that there is no "t" in idli.

Unique Dishes

South India is unique. We know that. But there are some lesser -known dishes that truly drive home the unusual culinary diversity of the land. Here are some for you to discover and delight in.

Dosa

Who doesn't love dosa? Nobody, right? And when there are so many types and variations to choose from, all we can say is what our akka used to say to us-"Enjoy while hot"!

Parotta

The parotta of the south has its origins in Sri Lanka, back when workers crossed the Palk Strait to work in the Thoothukudi Port and brought this layered wonder with them. It has since gained fame as the Malabar Parotta, giving diners a clue to its origins at the end of the Indian peninsula. We've drawn on the recipe from a family friend's popular hotel in Thiruvananthapuram.

Sevai

Sevai, as sevo or vermicelli is known in Tamil Nadu, is used extensively in both sweet and savoury preparations and often in place of rice. We're showcasing a range of recipes called Santhagai, which are traditionally part of wedding celebrations in the Kongu region of Tamil Nadu. And thanks to us, you can savour them whenever you like.

Variety Rice

South Indians love rice. And contrary to popular perception, we savour it in a variety of ways. Quintessential meals by themselves and hence popular options for picnics and tiffin boxes, these traditional recipes come alive when they unite the city during Chitra Pournami, the festival dedicated to Lord Chitragupta, during which one seeks forgiveness for one's sins. One of our favourite childhood memories from Madras is our paati (paternal grandmother) preparing five varieties of kalanda sadam (variety rice), after which we'd all go to Marina Beach, where the whole city would gather at night. We'd exchange our meals with each other and then feast together under the moonlight. We hope you bask in a similar emotion while savouring these dishes with your loved ones.

Meals

Sappadu is serious business. The Tamil word for "meal," it is traditionally served on a banana leaf and is similar to the Gujarati thali in that multiple dishes are served at the same time, but with one key difference - the Sappadu is centred around rice. Don't worry, there are plenty of vegetable preparations as well as accompaniments and side dishes. But once you've savoured a Sappadu, you'll truly understand why we think rice is so very nice.

Sweets

Of all the misconceptions about South Indian food, the one that most needs to be dispelled is that the cuisines don't have a legacy of sweets and deserts. While meals rarely sweets accompanying them, they often leave the best for last. As we've done for you.

Vadai

Vadais are to Madras what bhajiyas are to Amdavad - a popular street food that's firmly established in homes, too. Every family has its own recipes for the batter and spice and vegetables mixes that they swear by. We hope you'll swear by ours soon.

Uthappam

The uthappam (the "m" at the end is important) is a food for all times. More substantial than a dosa and less filling than an entire meal, its versatility means it works as well for breakfast as it does for a snack or even a meal. Luckily for you, we have options for every time of day.

Adai

Adai is not dosa. It might look and feel like it, but it tastes very different. Its batter is made from a mixture of many dals and rice, and not just urad dal that a dosa is made from. And it is made thicker and fluffier than a dosa. For the other differences, you'll just have to order one. or three.