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North Vs. South Indian Food


Indian food is known for some of the most unique and delicious flavors in the world. The use of spices and curries are characteristic of Indian cuisine as a whole, but the signature tastes of Indian food differ from the North to the South. In North Indian food, the cuisine is largely what is represented in typical Indian restaurants in the West, such as naan bread, samosas, and aloo gobhi, a cauliflower and potato stew.


In the South, the dishes focus largely on incorporating rice, fruits, coconut, and spices, including cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and clover. Due to heavy rainfall, South Indian food incorporates a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables that are native to the region. You’ll also find that many of the typical dishes in South Indian food are vegetarian, which is the main difference when comparing North Indian food to South Indian food.


Here is a breakdown of some differences in the cuisines of North to South India, along with some examples:


North India and Naan vs. South India and Rice & Beans


Sides are an important factor in Indian cuisine for both the North and the South. In the North, naan bread is commonly served alongside curries and stews. This bread is baked at a high temperature in a tandoor, giving it the distinct char on the outside. In South Indian food, dishes are usually accompanied by rice or bean/lentil side dishes. A few examples include biryani, daal, and raita.


North Indian Food: Chicken & Lamb vs South Indian Food: Vegetarian & Seafood


As previously mentioned, a significant difference between North and South Indian food is the use of meat. In North Indian food, chicken and lamb are common ingredients used in curries and kebabs. South Indian food utilizes beans, vegetables, and rice in their dishes for a more vegetarian-focused cuisine.


North Indian Ghee Butter vs South Indian Coconut Milk


The cooking agents in a dish impact the overall flavor, which is noticeable when comparing North Indian food to the South. North Indian food is usually cooked using Ghee butter. Essentially, Ghee butter is clarified butter that’s been cooked so long that it gets slightly browned, yielding nutty flavor notes. In South Indian food, coconut milk is used for making kormas and curries.


North Indian Tea or Chai vs South Indian Chicory Coffee


It’s common with Indian cuisine to finish a meal with a nice warm drink. In the North, this usually means a cup of tea or chai, also known as masala chai. In the South, the preferred after-dinner drink is chicory coffee: a rich hot drink made from roasted and ground chicory root.

At India Bistro Roosevelt, we specialize in authentic Indian cuisine, especially North Indian food. Our menu consists of dishes rarely seen in the West, including popular Indian street foods and traditional home recipes. We cook all of our dishes using seasonal and organic ingredients from right here in the Pacific Northwest.


Come and dine with us today for a delicious, unforgettable experience at India Bistro Roosevelt!

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