Diwali is known as the festival of lights should also be termed the festival of sweets. In South India, Diwali brings out the glutton in everyone to an ecstatic week of sweets and goodies , not to mention the exquisite feast of the day- vegetarian in some families and non –vegetarian in others but exotic nevertheless.
The staples of a South Indian breakfast, the idli and dosa with their accompaniments Chutney and sambar are world famous, on Diwali day in some parts of Southern most India, the day starts on a suprising note of Idli with the spice-laden curry. This is an endearing combination but, had only once a year on Diwali day while other days have their own vegetarian variety. Apart from the idlis and varieties of dosas, one gets to eat the idiyyapam (string hoppers) and her cousin Sevai, Puttu (Steamed rice cakes), Appams, Uthappams, panniyarams , poori- masala, the humble upma and much more mouth watering varieties that form the breakfast list of the southern Indian states.
The quintessential South Indian lunch consists of the Rice, the sambar and the various accompaniments like stir fried vegetables ,Kootu, Aviyal etc and the digestive and medicinal rasam with the buttermilk and curd to end the meal with. The non-vegetarian plate is an even wider variety with regional flavours thrown into the chicken, meat, fish, duck and egg recipes.
The South Indian food, if you notice, is a very healthy blend of nutrition. The idli, for example , is a perfect meal by itself- A batter made of – 3 or 4 parts of carbohydrates and one part protein; fermented and steamed , food cannot get any healthier. The varieties of dosa and uthappams and panniyarams that can be churned out from the same batter make the list eye-popping too. The sambar, a stew made out of a medley of vegetables and pulses as accompaniment adds to the nutritional value of a simple south Indian tiffin. The various combinations on the breakfast menu like the Puttu (carbs) and Kadala curry (protein), the Appams ( Carbs) and the chicken/ mutton stew( protein) etc are all health and flavour stories by themselves.
Also as the health conscious society is on the rise, age old traditional, forgotten foods are making a comeback increasing the never ending list of recipes available to a households .These super foods include millets like the little millets, foxtail millet, pearl millet, barnyard millet, Kodo millet etc with which people now create varieties of South Indian staples like the idlis, dosas, upma etc as well as baked goodies like cookies. Health foods from foreign cuisines like the Quinuo ( cooked in to a delicious upma) is also being welcomed into the South Indian food meal and is here to stay.