Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh use more rice. Karnataka on the other hand consumes more ragi and jowar. Consumption of rice is more common among certain brahmin communities.
The cuisines are largely different even in the nature of spices used. Coconut usage is more common in Kerala and coastal Karnataka than in other regions. There is a huge difference in the food habits of north and south Karnataka. Food in northern Karnataka is more similar to that of central India rather than south India.
Described as the spiciest of these four states' cuisines, there is a generous use of chilli powder, oil and tamarind. The cuisine has a great variety of dishes, with the majority being vegetable or lentil based.
Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, has its own characteristic cuisine considerably different from other Andhra cuisines. The Nizams patronised the Hyderabadi cuisine, which is very much like the Nawabs of the Avadh with Lucknowi cuisine. The only difference is that the Nizams of Hyderabad liked their food to be spicier, resulting in the Hyderabadi cuisine which included the Kacche Gosht ki Biryani and the Dum ka Murgh, Baghare Baingan and Achaari Subzi during the reign of the Nizams.
Karnataka cuisine is very diverse. Described as the mildest in terms of spice content of these four states' cuisines, there is a generous use of Jaggery, palm sugar and little use of chilli powder. Since the percentage of vegetarians in Karnataka is higher than other southern states, vegetarian food enjoys widespread popularity. Udupi cuisine forms an integral part of Karnataka cuisine.
Kerala cuisine is quite diverse. The diversity is best classified on the basis of the various communities. Most of the food is vegetarian but with the higher Christian and Muslim population than other states, non-vegetarian dishes are also common. The Hindus, especially the Namboodris and Nairs have a predominantly vegetarian cuisine, whilst the Christian and the Muslim communities have a largely non-vegetarian cuisine. The Syrian Christian dishes and Malabari Muslim dishes are famous. Since Kerala's main export is coconuts, almost all of the dishes, irrespective of the variety in the cuisines of the different communities, have coconuts associated with them, either in the form of shavings or oil extracted from the nut. Seafood is also very popular in the coastal regions and eaten almost every day.
A typical Tamil meal consists of many spicy and non-spicy dishes.Except Brahmins and a couple of non-brahmin castes Tamils eat more non-vegetarian. Many of these dishes are typically mixed and eaten with steamed rice, which is the staple food of the region.
Some of the chief varieties of spices produced in South India include cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
The south India is equally famous for the availability of coconut, a wide variety of fishes and root tubers. The south Indian food is mainly rice, which the south Indian people love to have with a combination of Sambhar or curry.
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