South Indian Base for most of the South Indian Dishes

South Indian cooking involves a larger number of spices!! So if your planning to make a Southy today, be prepared to do some extra spice shopping.


  • Oil/Ghee- 1tsp
  • Mustard- 1 tsp
  • Channa dal- 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves- 2 twigs
  • Garlic cloves- 1 or 2 cloves
  • Dried Red chillies-  to taste
  • Grounded Coconut (Optional)- to taste


Heat oil/ghee and season mustard (let it splutter) and add white gram dal, dried red chillies and curry leaves. Add the grounded coconut. Sauté for 5 minutes.This is the very basic south Indian base. The south Indian dishes have more variety and quite a few addition and subtractions but using these basic ingredients can be helpful in developing a strong mystic south Indian flavour to your dishes.


The trick is in heating ghee (clarified butter) for 2 minutes and then adding the garlic and the curry leaves. In some dishes black pepper is also used. This brings in a very strange spicy but soothing effect to your dishes. Try it out!! I have not yet found a substitute for this base recipe for the foreigners. If anyone has found, do let me know.


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