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Tamil Nadu has two distinct cuisines: vegetarian and non vegetarian.
A typical South Indian vegetarian meal is normally served as a 3 course meal. It is a simple and healthy meal. The vegetables are lightly cooked so they retain their natural flavors. Authentic recipes do not use either onion or garlic and use very little oil.
The meal starts with the first course of rice with Sāmbhar and vegetables, followed by rice and rasam and finally ends with curd rice.
A non-vegetarian meal is also served in courses except that the first and second courses are usually replaced by various biryanis and non-vegetarian meat dishes.