Famous Food of Tamil Nadu | 20 Tamil Food

The famous food of Tamil Nadu is a topic that always piques the interest of food lovers and travellers alike. Tamil Nadu, the land of temples and beaches, is also known for its diverse and mouth-watering cuisine.

In this blog, we will take you on a culinary journey through the famous food of Tamil Nadu, exploring its history, ingredients, and flavours.

List of 20 Famous food of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s famous food holds a special place in the hearts of food enthusiasts, both in India and beyond. The region offers a variety of unique vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that are cherished by many.

1. Rasam

Rasam, a soup-like dish, is known for its spicy and tangy taste. It serves as an appetizer and holds significant importance in the lives of Tamilians, being a staple in every household.

Tamil cuisine remains incomplete without Rasam. This colourless dish is prepared using ingredients such as tomatoes, pepper, cumin seeds, and various spices and herbs.

For convenience, ready-made rasam powder is also readily available in the market. Rasam is highly beneficial for health, as the spices are used to aid in improving digestion and boosting immunity.

Typically, Rasam is served as a side dish alongside steamed rice and sabzi, forming the quintessential South Indian meal.

2. Uttapam

Uttapam has also Spelled uthappam. In Karnataka, it is called Uttappa. One of the famous snacks in Tamil Nadu. People mostly consumed it during Breakfast. It looks similar to Dosa. It is one of the most famous foods of Tamil Nadu in India. Nowadays this food is very common in North Indian cuisine also.

Uttapam is prepared with Rice Batter. Batter Preparation is the same as idli Batter and dosa batter. It is made of Urad dal and Rice. Uttapam is cooked with onion topping, Capsicum, Tomato, and Coconut.

The texture of this dish is Soft & Spongy. This food is served hot with Samber or coconut chutney. You can find Majorly three types of Uttapam in any South Indian Restaurant Plain Uttapam, Onion Uttapam, and Onion Uttapam.

3. Poriyal

This recipe is made for you if you love to sauté. Poriyal is a Tamil term for a fried or sautéed dish. Spices such as mustard seeds, onions & urad dal with turmeric & other spices are sautéed with vegetables.

It is called Palya in Kannada & Vepdu in Telugu. Poriyal has a number of variants. It was eaten with Sambar, Yogurt & Rasam.

4. Paniyaram

Paniyaram is made of black lentils and rice batter, similar to dosa. This steam-cooked dish may be sweet or spicy. For cooking, this dish required a special pan. It is called Gunta Ponganalu in Kannada and is also known as Paddu in Telugu.

5. Kootu

Vegetables & lentils are used to prepare this Tamil meal. You will find several variations of this dish. This Semi-solid dish is incomplete without vegetables & lentils. Kootu Plays has an important place in Virundhu Sappadu-A Tamil Feast.

6. Filter Kaapi

Filter Kaapi’s is simply a filter Coffee. Instead of Tea, Tamilians prefer to filter coffee as a Morning beverage. A special metal device that looks like two cylindrical cups is used to prepare this coffee.

7. Medhu Vada

This is one of the famous dishes in south India. This Donut shapes popular dish is made of urad daal. The word “Soft “is called Medhu in Tamil. The dish is Soaked in batter and then deep-fried in oil. This dish is served with sambar and coconut chutney.

08. Dosa

Dosa is a staple food of Tamil Nadu. This Tamil food is well-known all over the world. Dosa is a very thin Crêpe or you can say pancake. It is prepared with a batter of rice and lentils. This high calory food is a very popular snack in India.

“Dosa became popular due to the influence of Udipi restaurants, and consequently, it is available in various types at Indian restaurants. These include plain dosa, Tomato Dosa, Onion Dosa, Masala Dosa, and Mysore Masala Dosa.” Fermented batter is prepared with Urad Dal (Black Lentils) & Rice.

For Masala Dosa A special masala is prepared with potatoes. This is after filling inside the dosa. This food is served hot with Sambar and Coconut Chutney. Food is very Popular for breakfast or as evening snacks.

09. Sambar

It is the most famous food in Tamil Nadu. Sambar is one of the most important foods in Tamil Cuisine. Sambar is a lentil-based stew. This Curry is Salty and tangy in flavour. Lentils are cooked with Tomatoes, Tamarind, and other vegetables like brinjal, pumpkin, Drumsticks, etc with other Indian Spices like curry leaves.

“Sambar, a traditional food of Tamil Nadu, is commonly paired with popular Tamil dishes such as Dosa, rice, and Idli. Not only is Sambar renowned in Tamil Nadu, but it is also a beloved dish throughout India.

It is a staple in the daily lives of Tamilians, enjoyed during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Moreover, Sambar is easily accessible in any Indian restaurant, making it a readily available and widely relished dish.”

10. Pongal

Pongal is famous Tamil food. It is a traditional food of Tamil Nadu. This popular South Indian food is prepared with rice and moong dal. This delicious dish is also known as “Khara Pongal”.

Pongal is considered a holy food. This food is offered to God During festivals, Pooja, and auspicious days. In Navratri, it is served to Goddess Durga. Roasted Moong dal and rice are cooked together and tempering is done with Cashew nuts, cumin seeds, and Curry leaves.

Pongal of Balaji Temple of South India is very popular. It is served during breakfast with coconut chutney.

11. Puliyodharai

Puliyodharai is Spicey, Tangy & Sour Dish from Tamil Cuisine. It is the famous South Indian dish Tamarind rice. Tamarind rice is also known as Kovil, Puli Sadam.

It is called Puliyogare in Kannada. Puliodarai is a Simple and Unique dish. Rice is Cooked with Tamarind Pulp with Special Masala made for the dish.

This food is also served in Temples as a Prasad. Tamarind rice is served with Curd or Yogurt. It is one of the best Vegan dishes in Tamil food.

12. Koozh

It is the famous street food of Tamil Nadu. Koozh is a Porridge that is made of Finger Millet (Ragi). Koozh is a Popular breakfast.

It is popular in every household and among all age people. Koozh is also eaten at lunch. Bajara Koozh is another Popular variation.

Kooj is one of the Highly Nutritious Indian food from Tamil Cuisine. Koozh is served with chopped onions or raw Mango spiced with chilli and salt.

13. Sundal

“Sundal is a popular food during Navratri, Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Varalakshmi Vratham. It is traditionally offered to Gods or Goddesses during festivals. Sundal, a traditional South Indian dish, is prepared using legumes, spices, and curry leaves.

Legumes such as Chana dal, Green Gram, black-eyed peas, Rajma, and corn can be used to prepare this holy and delicious dish. The preparation of Sundal is quite simple.

The soaked legumes are cooked in a pressure cooker and then tempered with spices. It is served with a garnish of coconut. Sundal is a famous Tamil cuisine dish that is commonly enjoyed during tea time.”

14. Orange Peel Pachadi

Orange peel Pacahdi is a unique dish from Tamilnadu Cuisine. This delicious tangy flavour dish is made with Indian Orange Peel.

Very simple and easy-to-cook food. Orange peel is cooked with tamarind, chillis, and other spices. This food is also prepared with Mango. People prefer to eat with Rasam rice or Curd rice.

15. Elumichai Sadam:

Elumichai Sadam is lemon rice, a famous South Indian dish. It is easy to cook and often prepared for school tiffin, office lunch boxes, or as a light meal option.

Additionally, lemon rice is served as a prasad in many South Indian temples and prepared during baby shower functions.

This traditional food of Tamil Nadu is made with rice, turmeric, and lemon, creating an aromatic dish that is best enjoyed at room temperature. It is readily available in South Indian restaurants.

16. Nei Payasum/ payasam:

Nei Payasam, a popular sweet dish from Tamil Nadu, is well-known at Annamalai Mandir.

There are various variations of Payasam, but Nei Payasam is specifically made with “unakkalari,” a special type of rice cooked with ghee and jaggery.

It is also referred to as Aravana Payasam. This delicious sweet dish is served hot.

17. Chicken Chettinad

Chicken Chettinad is another mouth-watering dish from Tamil cuisine, specifically prepared in the style of Chettinad cuisine. Each Indian region has its own distinct cooking style, including Chettinad.

Marinated chicken is cooked with a blend of spices and is typically served with paratha or rice. This is a famous food of Tamil Nadu.

18. Semiya Kesari

Semiya Kesari, also known as Seviyan Kesari or Vermicelli Kesari, is a noodle-based sweet dish from Tamil Nadu.

This dessert is prepared using Bambino or vermicelli, ghee, sugar, and dry fruits. It is sometimes served during breakfast. Roasted vermicelli is cooked in hot water, then sweetened with sugar and combined with other ingredients. This famous dish from Chennai is inspired by the recipe of Rava Kesari.

19. Banana Bonda

Banana Bonda, also known as sweet Bonda, Vellam Bonda, or Banana wheat Filler, is an amazing dish based on bananas in Tamil cuisine. Unlike the usual bondas stuffed with potatoes, this dish replaces potatoes with bananas.

Banana Bonda is made with wheat flour, bananas, jaggery, and cardamom powder. The dough, made from rice, jaggery, banana, and cardamom powder, is shaped into balls and deep-fried.

This sweet dish is popular among all age groups and is best enjoyed hot, often paired with tea during the rainy season. A delicious snack from Tamil cuisine.

20. Payasam

Payasam, also known as Payesh, Phirni, Kheer, or Kheeri, is an Indian pudding made with milk or coconut milk, jaggery or sugar, and rice. Rice can be substituted with alternatives such as vermicelli, sweet corn, millet, or tapioca.

In North India, Kheer is made with milk, while in South Indian cuisine, Payasam is made with coconut milk. The addition of dry fruits enhances its deliciousness.

Payasam is an age-old dish deeply rooted in Indian culture and is often served as “Prasad” in Hindu temples. This easy-to-make sweet dish is particularly popular during Hindu festivals.

Read More: History of Indian Food


  1. The food culture of Tamil Nadu
  2. Food of Tamilnadu

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