Book review-Southern Flavours

As a child, we ate south Indian food very occasionally and our knowledge of South Indian food was restricted to Dosa, Idly and Sambhar….These three things were all when we thought of Southern flavors….But as I grew up and came to Bangalore after my marriage, I realized that there is huge choice of food in the southern cuisine….Now South Indian cuisine has became one of my favorites… So when I got the opportunity to review this wonderful book Southern Flavours by Chandra Padmanabhan, I was much overjoyed….This is her fourth book and a must have for all the beginners and experts alike of south Indian cooking…

The Book has a beautiful cover page which instantly draws attention and inside the book,there are beautiful clicks of the  recipes wonderfully presented with  garnishing of mustard seeds and curry leaves….

The book has a vast selection of recipes from Tamilnadu, Kerala , Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka….It covers basics from How to cook rice to which utensil to use for what kind of cooking…And the section with the suggested menus for buffets and a la carte is just wonderful….

The content is divided into 8 sections covering basics, Sambhar and Kuzhambu, rasam, poriyal and kootu, rice, snacks, sweets and accompaniments….

There are a lots of notes and tips with each recipe to make the cooking even easier and the variation ideas gives more choices to the readers…..

Another thing that I liked about the book was the mention of the time needed for the preparation and cooking time for the recipe….

I am a newbee in South Indian cooking and as a layman, this book proved to be a real help…I could make a few recipes from this book like a pro, as the instructions were very easy and understandable…This book is definitely a keeper for a novice cook or a new wedded bride….

I tried a couple of recipes from the book …Rasam came out wonderful with the use of freshly grounded Rasam Podi…This book is going to help me long way…

Rasam Podi

All you need is

Dried red chilies-114 cup
Coriander seeds-212cups
Cumin seeds-12 tbsp
Black peppercorn-12 cup
Curry leaves-2 sprigs
Tuvar dal-34 cup
Chana dal-14 cup
Turmeric powder-1 tsp

Method of preparation

Roast each ingredient ,except turmeric powder, separately in a dry frying pan over low heat tossing gently for a few moments( Roast chillies, curry leaves and spices, till fragrant ,and dals ,till golden )
Cool and combine all ingredients including turmeric powder
Grind to make a fine powder
Store in an air tight container and use as required

Verum Thakkali Rasam ( Tomato Rasam from Tamil Nadu )

All you need is

Husked, split pigeon peas (tuvararhar dal )-14 cup
Ripe tomatoes-5-6 (pureed )
Rasam podi-2 tsp (make as descibed above)
Asafoetida powder-12 tsp
Salt-1 14 tsp


Ghee-2 tsp
Mustard seeds-12 tsp
Cumin seeds-12 tsp
Dried chili-1 ( halved)
Black peppercorn-12 tsp (powdered )
Curry leave-1sprig


Fresh coriander-2 tbsp ( chopped )

Method of preparation

Wash dal and drain
Place in a pressure cooker with one cup of water
Cook under pressure for 5 minutes
Open cooker when cool
Add 1 cup of water to make thin dal
Whisk well and keep aside

Combine pureed tomatoes, Rasam podi, Asafoetida and salt in pan
Mix well and simmer over low heat for 10-12 minutes

Add dal and bring to boil
Lower heat and simmer, till Rasam froths up
Remove from heat

Heat ghee for tempering in another pan
Add remaining ingredients for tempering, in the order given
Fry over moderate heat, till mustard seeds splutter
Stir content of pan into Rasam

Garish with coriander leaves and serve hot

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  1. says

    Neha , I’m so in love with all that beautiful spices hahaha I browsed Indian cookbooks from time to time as there are loads of these at the library but I’m getting cross-eyed over the long list of ingredients hahaha I’m still collecting some spices though ;D Your soup looks hearty and delicious ! Really good for our wet and cold weather here :)

  2. says

    Drool, drool and still drooling over this rasam. You took my breath away Neha bc rasam can be on the table everday and my other half will enjoy it. Our fav Indian soup.

  3. says

    Siriously, I have never been much of a south indian food lover. I just dont get the food yet. lots of chilli and I am not that much into chilli (except if u combine it with chocolate!). But then I was with all indian food like that, couldnt swallow a spoon of rice curry before. By now I simply love it! Maybe if u give me some time I ll be able to indulge souther cuisine and maybe I d need a book like that to inspire me.

    great clicks by the way!

  4. says

    I am very much excited to read this book after reading this review now. And when I was reading this review, I got SMS that flipkart has delivered this book at my residence.

    Thanks for posting this lovely review, which has made me more curious.

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