Apart from tingling our taste buds, South Indian cuisine for a long time, have ruled our palates and cuisine, given their simple yet exotic taste and of course health benefits.
This regional cuisine has truly taught us the meaning of winning with simplicity given its national and global reach where people start craving for South Indian delicacies, at least I do!
Table of Contents
- Interesting Facts About South Indian Food
- What Makes Idli a Healthy Option?
- Benefits of Sambar
- Health Benefits of Dosa
- Health Benefits of Uttapam
We all know that nothing beats waking up to the aroma of crackling curry leaves and the sound of sputtering mustard seeds.
From kids to adults, the South Indian cuisine is an all time favourite ranging from the humble upma to Kerala’s popular appam served with a delicious vegetable stew, not to mention all time favourites idli and dosa.
Interesting Facts About South Indian Food
- The Base is Rice: Almost all the South Indian dishes are prepared with rice as the base ingredient.
- Five States: South Indian food is the staple food of 5 states in India. The people of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the state of Telengana, consume more South Indian food than the rest of India, combined.
- Beyond Dosas and Idlis: South Indian food as we all think is pretty much dosas and idlis. But it is way beyond these and there a few popular South Indian dishes, that you wouldn’t have even heard of, before. While the state of Andhra has Pesarattu, Upma and Pulihaara, Karnataka South Indian food is pretty unique and you will be surprised to know, that to boost the taste, they use sweeteners such as jaggery and palm sugar.
- Coconut for Chutneys: Coconut is again used a lot, while preparing dishes in Kerala. The primary reason for Kerala using coconut as base is because Kerala is the top exporter of coconut in India and it is found in abundance across the state.
South Indian cuisine is not only tasty but healthy too. You can happily kick start your day with some steamed idlis spruced up with coconut chutney and a bowl of piping hot sambar – simple, healthy and timeless. Time to consider the health benefits of some of the most popular South Indian Dishes.
At Possible, you will find some really interesting and health friendly South Indian meal options for a healthy and fit mind and body, curated by our expert Possible Nutritionist, especially for you!
What Makes Idli a Healthy Option?
- Made with fermented rice, idlis are a great source of carbohydrates and proteins.
- The fermentation process increases the bioavailability of proteins and enhances the vitamin B content of the food.
- As it is steamed, fat content is low and it is easily digestible.
- Use of daal and rice in idli is a good combination as the amino acids in them complement each other.
- Healthy Options: Oats Idli, Palak Idli and Beetroot Idli
Benefits of Sambar
1. High on Proteins
Sambar is made of pulses which is a good source of vegetarian protein. Proteins are required for muscle growth and repair, and weight loss too.
2. Full of Fibers
Apart from proteins, pulses used in sambar are high on fibers too. The sambar includes a variety of vegetables, which are rich in fibers and anti-oxidants.
Traditional sambar preparations have veggies like drumsticks, pumpkin, brinjal, okra, tomatoes and various other fibre-rich seasonal vegetables. Fibre takes the longest to digest. High fiber foods are also good for heart and cholesterol.
3. Antioxidant Punch
The dal based stew is high on vitamins and minerals iron, zinc, folate and magnesium. In addition to the pulses and vegetables, the eclectic mix of herbs and spices add to the many health benefits of sambar.
Tamarind extract, turmeric, curry leaves, red pepper and mustard seeds have a number of health benefits, ranging from good digestion, weight loss and high immunity.
4. Easy to Digest
Due to the presence of water and fibre, sambar is one of the best foods for smooth digestion. Fibre acts bulk to the tool, whereas the rich water content of sambar facilitates passing of stool through the intestinal walls easily.
5. Weight Loss benefits
Since the stew is rich in proteins, fibers and is easily digestible, and sambar makes for a delicious weight loss friendly food.
Health Benefits of Dosa
Dosas are thin, crepe-like pancakes native to India. Dosas are made from lentil and rice batter rather than wheat flour. Dosas are rich in carbohydrates like traditional pancakes but are also high in fat.
- Dosas are healthy because they are relatively low in calories.
- An 86 g serving of dosa provides 162 calories, which is just 8 percent of the daily recommended intake of 2,000. This is slightly less than the amount in regular pancakes, which contain 197 calories per 86 g serving.
- For increasing the health benefits of dosas, you can always stuff them with paneer or tofu which are a rich source of proteins.
- Healthy vegetables like cabbage, carrot, broccoli and other green vegetables that are a good source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can also be used as dosa fillings.
Health Benefits of Uttapam
Uttapam is healthy as well as easy to cook. Uttapam has a high content of fat due to the oil. Homemade uttapam is an ideal meal option for those who are looking for a low-fat breakfast.
- Veg Uttapam and Oats Uttapam are rich in various nutrients and do not add unhealthy calories to your body.
- Uttapams can be made with simple dosa batter or with a combination of dosa batter and vegetables or with the batter of millets, sorghum, rice, lentils, sprouts, semolina and so on.
- A single serving of plain uttapam has lesser calories than stuffed uttapam. Though uttapam is cooked with a certain amount of oil that makes it unhealthy, you can always cut out fat content from the food by using olive oil.