South Indian Food Guide | South Indian Cooking Recipes
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

South Indian Food Guide

South Indian Food Guide

South India which includes Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have both coastal and non-coastal regions. The common aspect of all the states is that they are predominantly rice eaters.  Since fish and coconut are found in abundance they form an important part in their diets. South Indian food is largely non greasy, roasted & steamed. Rice forms the basis of every meal & is usually served with sambaar, rasam, dry & curried vegetables & curd preparations. Dosa, idli & vada have now become popular throughout the country.
Guide for a Healthy Living (South India)
Recommended foods*
Foods for use in moderation#
Foods for exceptional use$only


All fresh seasonal green leafy & colourful vegetables. Variety and minimum quantity (450-500 gms) of fruits and vegetables to be ensured.
Starchy vegetables (potato, sweet potato, yam colocacia etc.)
Deep fried vegetables, (bhajji, pakoda, banana chips, potato chips), ketchups & sauces, ready made soups & commercially prepared vegetables.
Prefer boiled/ 
steamed vegetables. Eat salads in abundance. Cook vegetables in minimum vegetable oil.

All seasonal fresh whole fruits (citrus fruits should also be included). Variety and minimum quantity to be ensured (450-500 gm of F&V)
Home made fresh fruit juices.
Canned fruits, commercial juices,  fruit milkshakes

Eat fruits with the peel, whenever possible, after washing/scrubbing them well. Avoid sprinkling of  salt on fruits. Hygiene to be ensured when eating fruits outside home.                            
Whole wheat  &its products, semi polished rice, ragi, bajra, maize, jowar, oats.

Polished rice 
and its 
(puttu, idiappam, appam),
sooji, bread, unsweetened 
breakfast cereals.
Parota, poori, semiya, rice based deep fried snacks, instant noodles, macaroni,  cakes, biscuits, patties, burgers,   pizzas, sweetened breakfast cereals.
As the diet is primarily Rice based try & include whole wheat products in the diet. Dosa and idlies can be made of semi polished rice. Use flours ground from  chakkis than buying it from the   grocery shops. Avoid sieving of flours.

All varieties of whole & sprouted dals,   defatted soy products are preferred to husked dals.

Deep fried dals (bhajjis, vadas), & commercially available cooked dals
Use variety of dals (pulses) in rotation rather than preferring one dal. Sprouted dals are also very healthy.
Fatty fish (hilsa, oolum, purva, vanjaram etc.),   white fish (e.g.vavval, murrel, theppu meenu, rohu, kanankeluthai etc.)
Prawns, shrimps, crabs.
Deep & shallow fried fish (cutlets, pakoras), fish eggs, dried fish, oysters, fish pickles, tinned fish.
Fish should be eaten in boiled/ grilled/ baked /steamed form for better health benefits.
Egg  white
Limit the use of whole egg to four times a week.
Fried egg, egg halwa, french toast , mayonnaise.
Always eat eggs in boiled or poached form. Cook omlettes, scrambled egg in a nonstick pan with minimum oil.



Chicken breast.

Chicken legs. 
Chicken with skin, all types of red meat (goat, pork & beef), organ meat, minced meat, sausages, ham, salami, frankfurters.  Ready to eat poultry & meat products.
Eat chicken in grilled/ steamed/ boiled/ roasted /baked form. Avoid non-vegetarian preparations in rich coconut gravies & in fried form.

Dairy Products
Pasteurised low fat/ skimmed milk and its  products (curd, buttermilk) & its preparations (payasam).

Pasteurised whole milk and their products (curd, butter milk) & preparations (payasam), flavoured milk.

Ghee, butter, processed cheese, cheese spreads, ice-creams, khoa & its preparations
Prefer double-toned milk to toned milk
Prefer cow milk to buffalo milk. Boil, cool, remove the cream layer and consume the milk.

Nuts & Oil seeds
Walnuts, almonds, melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed (ali vidai)
Cashew nut, peanut, poppy seeds, sesame, pistachio.
Coconut, fried & salted nuts & nut burfies,


Fats & Oils
Recommended but only in MODERATION!!
Flowing oils are better than those which are solid at room temperature. Use a combination of oil or cook different food items in different oils (mustard, soya, sunflower, cannola, groundnut, seasame, kardi, rice bran) or blended oils. Small quantities of mustard oil should be included in some form or another.
Butter, ghee vanaspati, palm oil, coconut oil,   cotton seed oil.
Limit the total intake of oil. Avoid readymade   foods & snacks cooked in vanaspati. Deep-fried foods to be taken only occasionally.
Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds fenugreek seeds, turmeric, tulsi, cumin and garlic have more health benefits.

Red chilly 
powdered spices & masalas (sambhar,rasam, chicken masala)
Home ground spices are preferred to packed ones.
Prefer homemade masalas.
Red chillies to be used in moderation.


Sugar & its products


Sugar/jaggery in homemade sweets and beverages.
Indian Sweets (laddu , kesari, mysore pak, &milk sweets), chocolates, ice creams, candies, sugar floss, fruit squashes, artificial sweeteners.
Limit the total intake of sugar & jaggery especially in sedentary individuals.
Sweetened tea & coffee is a major source of sugar intake
Green tea, lemon tea without sugar and milk, home made unsweetened lemon juice and coconut water.
Fresh fruit juices (without sugar /sweetener), skimmed milk tea, filter coffee, cocoa & its products (dark chocolates, cocoa beverages), red wine.
Boiled coffee, instant coffee, over brewed/boiled tea, squashes, Aerated & non aerated soft drinks, zero calorie drinks, alcohol.

Brew the tea leaves instead of boiling. Tea without milk is preferred to tea with milk.
Fruits and vegetables in natural state without salt.
Limit salt intake to 5 - 6gms/1 tsp in a day.
Rock salt, uniodised salt, pickles, papads,   salted biscuits & nuts, chinese food & sauces, foods containing MSG   (ajinomoto), preserved & frozen food.
Do not sprinkle salt on your salads, foods, curd preparations and juices. Use spices or herbs to flavour your food instead.

*Recommended foods” are generally low fat and/ high in fibre. These should be used regularly as a   part of the diet. The exception is vegetable oils and nuts, which are recommended because of their   fatty acid composition, but because of their high energy content, should be used in moderation.

# Foods for use in moderation” contains saturated fat, trans fats, or unsaturated fats and are calorie   dense or very low in fiber. As the diet should be low in fat and not exceed the caloric requirements,   these foods should be used in moderation

$ Foods for exceptional use only” contain large portions of saturated or hydrogenated fats and / or    cholesterol, or sugar and salt and therefore should be avoided whenever possible.

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