Cuisine in Tamil Nadu

Tamiḻakattiṟku varuka! Ētāvatu cāppiṭa virumpukiṟāyā? (Welcome to Tamil Nadu! Would you like something to eat?).

Top Foods in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is a glorious state located at the narrow Southern tip of India. Blessed with some of the most mouth-watering and flavoursome regional Tamil Nadu famous food. Each dish of Tamil Nadu boasts unique cooking methods and spices. These have been backed with family recipes, ancient culture and traditions, community history and external influences. There are some famous food of Tamil Nadu that have made their special place in the hearts of the people and have travelled far and wide to capture many more hearts. 

Here are the top 10 Tamil Nadu famous food items:

  • Sambar
  • Puliyodarai
  • Paruppu Payasam
  • Pollachi Nandu Fry
  • Rasam
  • Mutton Kola Urundai
  • Chicken Chettinad
  • Filter Kaapi
  • Pongal
  • Murukku

#1 Sambar

This list must begin with the mighty dish called Sambhar. It is a lentil-based stew which is prepared with tomatoes and/or tamarind as its base for building flavours. Whether it is for breakfast or a lavish traditional Tamilian lunch spread, Sambar is a significant part of almost every meal in Tamil Nadu and in Tamilian homes everywhere. Vegetables such as carrots, yam, drumsticks ,and okra are added to the pot of Sambar to make it more delicious and nutritious, making it the Tamil Nadu famous food dish.

#2 Puliyodarai

Tamarind, coconut, and rice are very common ingredients used in Tamil Brahmin food. One such dish that comes from combining tamarind and rice is Puliyodarai. It is a special Tamil Nadu traditional dish and is generally made during festivals and special occasions. First, it is offered to God as prasadam while praying in the temple and then enjoyed by people. It is really easy to prepare this tangy delicious dish and is generally accompanied with fryums or papadams.

#3 Paruppu Payasam

Care for something sweet? This traditional sweet dish is made with moong dal, jaggery, coconut milk, ghee, and nuts - that’s it! During summer, Paruppu Payasam is commonly prepared since moong dal is cooling for the body. This Tamil Nadu famous food is not overly sweet and is made using jaggery so you can enjoy a bowlful of this traditional dessert without any guilt. It tastes better when it is hot.

#4 Pollachi Nandu Fry

This one is for the seafood lovers! Tamil Nadu is a coastal state and there are many cities that have the pleasure of feasting on some incredible seafood dishes. One such dish is the Pollachi Nandu Fry. It is a Crab Fry dish that is prepared using a special spice mix that goes really well with the naturally sweet flavour of the crab. Many seafood restaurants serving South Indian cuisines include this dish on their menu, but there is just something very magical in enjoying the dish in Tamil Nadu. 

#5 Rasam

Rasam is a tangy, peppery broth that has been tempered with typical spices, like curry leaves and mustard seeds. These are used frequently in Tamil cooking and the rest of South India. It is very different from Sambar and can be enjoyed with rice or just on its own. Rasam tastes best when its steaming hot and can be eaten any time of the year. Depending on the season, you can experiment with different lentils and ingredients (you can add meat or seafood into the mix too) and enjoy this yummy Tamilian dish! This is one of the most famous Tamil Nadu food items. 

#6 Mutton Kola Urundai

The most important dish of Tamil Nadu cuisine, these mutton keema balls flavoured with Chettinad spices will be one of the best dishes that you will eat in Tamil Nadu. They are so flavoursome that when prepared well, you will be eating them as if you’re popping candy in your mouth! The use of spices in this appetizer must be well-balanced, and just one spice must not overpower the whole dish. 

#7 Chicken Chettinad

This mouth-watering dish is a specialty of the Chettiyar community of Tamil Nadu. Contrary to popular belief, there are many regional non vegetarian dishes within the broad category of Tamil Nadu cuisine. Every region has its variations and Chettinad cuisine happens to be one of them. 

In this dish, chicken is marinated in yogurt, turmeric, a variety of spices such as poppy seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds, and other add ons to enhance the flavours. It can be prepared in a dry or gravy style and is enjoyed with either steamed rice or a rice flour paratha. Chicken Chettinad is one of the most popular dishes of Tamil Nadu. 

#8 Filter Kaapi

A meal in South India is complete only when you enjoy a cup of Filter Kaapi (filter coffee) afterwards. It is customary in South Indian homes to offer a cup of Filter Kaapi to guests before and after a meal. The coffee is brewed in a special metal device that resembles two cylindrical cups. If given the chance, you need to watch how the coffee is made and what makes it so frothy while serving.

#9 Pongal

In Tamil, Pongal means ‘bubbling up’ and it’s a very special dish of Tamil Nadu. The main ingredients in Pongal are rice, milk, moong dal and other regional additions. There are four variations of Pongal that you can enjoy in the state - Venn Pongal, Puli Pongal (made with tamarind), Sakkarai Pongal (made with jaggery) and Melagu Pongal (made with black pepper). 

Tamil Nadu’s main festival also goes by the same name. It is a harvest festival and as a manner of celebration, women in Tamil Nadu gather in a social space and prepare the Sakkarai Pongal in clay pots.

#10 Murukku

These crispy savoury snacks are perfect for tea (or coffee) time! Murukku means ‘twisted’ in Tamil and refers to the spiral, twisted shape of the fried item. It is made with a combination of rice flour and urad dal flour mixed with water, salt, red chilli powder, asafoetida and either sesame seeds or cumin seeds. This is kneaded into a dough, twisted into spirals and deep fried till they are crispy and golden brown. There are even sweet, meat and seafood variations of murukkus!

Tamil Nadu Resorts

Club Mahindra has two premium resorts in Tamil Nadu. Club Mahindra Derby Green and Club Mahindra Danish Villa Resorts are located in the beautiful hill station of Ooty. In both these resorts, you get to enjoy a memorable and peaceful family holiday full of fun and adventures. Indulge in the resorts’ specially curated activities, relax in the sprawling swimming pool, rejuvenate in the in-house spa, and relish delicious Tamil Nadu cuisine in the resorts’ in-house restaurants. You will leave with a mind full of happy memories, a heart full of love for Ooty, and a soul filled with the warmth of filter kaapi! 

Best Time to Visit Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has a tropical climate with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. The best time to visit Tamil Nadu is during the winter months, from November to February, when the weather is cooler and more pleasant. During this time, the temperature ranges between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, making it an ideal time to explore the state's temples, beaches, and hill stations. 

The monsoon season in Tamil Nadu starts from June and lasts until September, which can cause heavy rainfall and flooding, making it difficult to travel. The summer months, from March to May, can be quite hot and humid, with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius, making it uncomfortable for tourists to travel.

How to Reach Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is well-connected to the rest of India and the world by air, rail, and road. The state has four international airports, including Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, and Tiruchirappalli, which receive flights from major cities across India and the world. 

Tamil Nadu also has an extensive railway network, with major cities and towns connected by regular train services. 

The state has several national highways and state highways that connect it with neighbouring states and cities, making it easy to reach by road. Buses, taxis, and private vehicles are easily available for transportation within the state, making it convenient to travel to different parts of Tamil Nadu. You can also opt for guided tours or hire private cars with drivers to explore the state's popular attractions.


What is the main traditional food of Tamil Nadu?

Pongal is a traditional dish of Tamil Nadu made by cooking rice in a pot with water and milk.

About Club Mahindra

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.

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