Nestled in the Western part of Tamil Nadu is one of the lesser-known secrets of Tamil cuisine that offers a delightful treat to those who seek it. Kongunadu cuisine derives its name from the ‘Kogunadu’ belt comprising regions like Coimbatore, Pollachi, Salem, Karur, Avinashi, Mettur, Tiruppur, and Palani whose culinary traditions are unique and rooted in their region.
Kongunadu cuisine differs from Chettinadu cuisine in its conservative use of certain spices, and ample drizzlings of pepper, jeera and grated fresh turmeric. The foods are usually prepared using gingelly oil or coconut oil and turmeric, as the region is the highest producer of these crops in Tamil Nadu. The cuisine, largely made in home kitchens, uses ingredients that are locally sourced like freshwater fish and country chicken; short-grain rice like ponni; kollu or horse gram (mostly used in rasam); dried or grated coconut; and a variety of region-specific vegetables. Millets are used predominantly in the food menu like Kali, a popular dumpling made from soaking and steaming millets in a mud pot.
Some of the popular region-specific dishes are Kambu (pearl millet) dosa, drumstick soup, Vazhapoo vada (made from banana flower), Manikaram spicy vadagam curry (made from holy basil and betel nut leaves), Arisi paruppu sadam (rice cooked with dal and spices - a recipe that has existed from the fourth century CE), a tangy sherbet called Nannari, Thenga Paal (sweet hot milk made of jaggery, coconut and cotton seeds), Ulundu Kali (a sweet dish made out of jaggery, gingelly oil and black gram), Kachayam (dessert made from jaggery and rice), Arisiparuppu Sadam, Kambu Panniyaram, Ragi Pakoda and Pori Urundai.
The Ulundhu Kali is a traditional Tamil sweet dish that is made using generous amounts of gingelly oil and palm jaggery (karupatti in Tamil). The dish is considered extremely healthy and full of protein, and is a preferred item in the diet of pregnant women to strengthen their bones and improve digestion. This highly nutritious dish from the Kongunadu cuisine can be eaten as an evening snack and is loaded with health benefits.Read More
Kambu dosa or Millet dosa made using pearl millets is a healthy and delicious dish that contains a good amount of protein, carbs, minerals and iron. For those keen on including healthier alternatives to rice, Kambu dosa is an ideal dish for breakfast or dinner. This traditional recipe is easy to make, is believed to keep blood sugar under control and is loaded with nutrients.Read More
Fritters made using banana blossom/ banana flower, known as Vazhaipoo Vadai in Tamil, is a scrumptious snack and traditional recipe from the Kongunadu region of Tamil Nadu. The crisp Vazhaipoo Vadai goes best with rasam saadam (rasam rice) or as an evening snack with tea or coffeeRead More
This simple one-pot dish, one of the signature dishes from the Kongunadu region, is known for its easy cooking procedure and health benefits. This mix of rice and dal is a yummy combination that can be made in a jiffy and is an ideal lunch box recipe on a busy day.Read More
Elaneer Payasam is a delicious dessert unique to the Kondunadu cuisine, which is made using tender coconut. The Elaneer payasam is rich and creamy and is mostly served chill. Like many Kongu dishes, the Elaneer Payasam is also nutritious and has a unique texture that has tender coconut bits to bite.Read More
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