The Sweet Toothed South Indian
“Desserts are the fairy tales of the kitchen, a happily-ever-after to supper.”
– Terri Guillemets
In the homes that are in the southern part of the subcontinent, one can find love and magic in abundance in the kitchen. Many chefs trot the land creating cuisines that ensure an everlasting taste in the tongues of the tourists and natives alike since time immemorial. The fries and curries served sizzling hot with spices get your lips smacking and your heart craving. It is no secret that we South Indians are synonymous to our spicy food but our kitchen doesn’t hold back in spoiling you with some of the sweetest delicacies too. With the festive season coming up on our calendar, we are very much looking forward to sinking our teeth in some of these delicious desserts and excuse ourselves from our diet.
This simple creamy delicious delight is a savoured dish in the South regardless of age and culture. Milk is the key ingredient in a payasam. This milk treat is made during all auspicious occasions and also for those occasional indulgences. Traditionally,the rich and sweet payasam include paruppu payasam, aval payasam,and semiya payasam . In modern times, many creative variations exist with pineapple, carrots and even mango payasam .
People in South India welcome each New Year with a traditional Pachadi on their plate. The Pachadi is a metaphorical amalgamation of our life’s essence that we look forward to every year. Mango is the key ingredient. Traditionally neem flowers are fried in ghee and added to it .This pachadi has all the taste- sweetness from jaggery, sourness from mangoes, bitterness from neem flowers and hotness from chillies which indicates that life is a mixture of all emotions, has ups and downs but on the whole it is wonderful and sweet just like this pachadi.
This lip smacking sweet is close to a fruit salad but nothing like it. You need fresh fruits especially banana and dry fruits like raisins and dates and jaggery, honey, sugar rock candy or kalkandu and edible camphor or pachai karpooram. These are mixed and mashed well. This gives a heavenly taste. While it is not uncommon to prepare at home, Panchamrutham is usually served in temples and other holy places as prasadams.
Every celebration needs a sweet, and rava kesari is synonymous to celebration in every household. From birthdays to auspicious occasions, this simple dish makes its way to the stomach. Rava kesari is similar to Suji halwa in the North, and is made with cashews and raisins. Kesari, or saffron, is added to rava, or semolina, to bring out a bright orange color that makes this dessert very inviting.
Loosen up your belts and don’t forget to brush your teeth before you go to bed because, come a reason for celebration, Amma’s South Indian Chettinad surely knows how to spoil your sweetest tooth.