Introduction to Tamil Recipes and People

History of Tamil People

Tamil people are part of the South Indian group of Indians. There is an ongoing discussion and argument about whose language and culture are foremost among the peoples of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra states. We will leave it at that because once upon a time they were all brothers from one family according to legends and epics.

There is of course recorded history about the Dravidian people. Now the Tamils are all over the world. Majority lives in South India and the rest scattered around north Srilanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, Fiji and in Caribbean islands.

The three royal dynasties of brothers are called the Cholas, Pandyas and Cheras. They date back to the third century AD.

History of Tamil Recipes

Indiahas far advanced today and what the west thought of it as an impoverished hungry continent is no longer valid. Food is available every where in India, is affordable and is reasonably priced in India.

Maduraiis the center of Tamilnadu for culture and language. Tamil Sangam in Madurai is a center for Tamil literature. This goes back to the 6th century AD. Tamil recipes for idli and dosa are mentioned in the 5th century AD.

The Tamil idli is said to have been derived from two words, for spread and boil. ‘Itu’ means lay or spread or pour and ‘avi’ means to boil. Therefore, pour and boil is how idli is made and is appropriately named.

The word idli was mentioned in 920 AD, and there is even a description about the recipe. It is of course rather unlike ours today, as it seems to have been made of urad dal fermented with no rice flour at all and soaked in butter milk rather than water. There was also a mix of spices like cilantro, cumin, (perungayam) asafetida and pepper in it.

Dosa and vadai are mentioned too, seems like they also have been around for two thousand years in Tamil culture and food. Tamil recipes are not new but ancient and they have been modified a few times to what they are today.

The Staple Food is Rice

The Tamils love their rice. Rice is an important staple food for most. The most popular and loved breakfast items are made of rice like Idli, Dosa, and Idyappam.

White rice in Tamilnadu is not eaten plain like the rest of the world does. Most Asians like the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and others can eat white rice just plain but not the south Indian. He needs to have some kind of to pour on it, mix and then it with his fingers.

That’s the best part. Why use the fingers because it is tasty when you touch food, tongue and the skin of your fingers. There is magic in taste when you do that compared to a spoon or a fork. More ever, traditional Tamil food is served on a banana leaf which adds great flavor to any food served hot on it.

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