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Snacks of South India - Culinary Arts

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Chef Praveen Abraham Chef Instructor Culinary Academy Of India


Chipping it, once you pop…the fun won’t stop, have a break, have a KitKat, the more you eat the more you want…

By now, you know what we are talking about, it is SNACKS!

Those are the taglines of well-known snacks produced commercially all around the world. You might be thinking what is it to do with SOUTH INDIAN SNACKING, well, even before snacks were commercially made and sold in packets. As a kid, I remember staring at those huge glass jars filled with candies, savories, mints, gums, and all kinds of colorful fascinating titbits, calculating what I can buy from the petty cash I have, from a local shop at the corner of the street. The concept of snacking is not new; it was always there, rooted in the Indian culture but had a different perspective. Back in the olden days’ snacks were made at home with available ingredients either to go with the meal or was eaten in its original form between meals as hunger savior. The build of snacks was made because it should be convenient for people who wish to carry it with them while traveling or going out for work so that its portable, compact, higher shelf life, satisfying, or even fulfilling sometimes.

Slowly with better preservative techniques and improved conditions of the food industry, commercial production of snacks with fancy packaging and innovative varieties, have become popular.

Traditional Indian snacks are mostly made using various flour, pulses, and dry fruit varieties; there is a wide variety of sweet and savory snacks made to satisfy people of all age groups. Few snacks are made to make an occasion like in Telangana Sakinalu are made during Sankranti. The word snack is not just confined to anything savory but sweet snacks are also quite preferred. Generally in India snacks are an accompaniment to any beverage be it tea or alcohol, they go hand in hand!

Most of the south Indian crowd would like to have some savory as they sip a hot cup of Masala Chai or even filter coffee for that matter. South Indians are obsessed with their snacks and each house makes them differently. There are many similar dishes either the ingredients or the method remain the same. Sometimes the same dish is called differently in a different language. DIVIDED BY LANGUAGE, UNITED BY SNACKS!

Let us now look into various regional snacks from the states of South India;

TELANGANA: This young state is known for its unique and distinct flavors.

Several varieties of snacks like Sakinalu, Vada Appalu, Murukulu, Chegodilu, Arshelu, Makka Garelu, Makka Atukulu, Gudalu, Venchina Pelalu, Pelala laddu, Malida Laddu and the most popular one is SarvaPindi.


All the above-mentioned snacks are very native to this region and these are dry and savory expect for Arshelu which is made with a combination of jaggery and soaked pounded rice. Similarly, Sakinalu is also made with soaked pounded rice to which toasted sesame seeds are added, this batter acts as a dilatant, more like how cornflour slurry behaves when pressure is applied, it’s a fun physics experiment do try!

The Sakinalu batter is thick, a little of it is taken into wet hands allowed to drop into a string naturally, taking the help of gravity the batter is shaped into a ring; it is allowed to dry on cloth which takes in the excess moisture and is later deep fried. A lot of variations can be found within the region where few add some red chili powder or even green chili paste, but originally the batter is seasoned just with salt.

Malida Laddu is a festive sweet made with leftover Roti, Jaggery, and fennel seeds. The Roti is torn into small pieces to which grounded fennel and grated Jaggery is added to bind them into Ladoos. It is made during the Bathukamma festival.

ANDHRA PRADESH: before 2015, both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were known to be a single identity; hence, the food cultures of both states remained more or less the same. This is the exact reason why we find similar or same snacks with a different name, like Chakralu and Chekkalu, which are the same as Murukulu and Vada Appalu from Telangana. Apart from the similarities, the state also has a few snacks unique to this region like Pesara Punugulu, Dibba Rotte, Boorelu, Vaamu Aaku Bajji, Salividi, Bellam Garelu, and Utanki.

Pesara Punugulu is small dumpling size fritters made with a thick green gram batter with a lot of chopped green chilies, onion, spices and coriander added to it, liked by the locals during the rainy season.


Boorelu are stuffed dumplings that are deep-fried. The covering is made of Urad dal and the stuffing is Jaggery based.

Vaamu Aaku Bajji is a fritter made with carom seed leaf dipped in a spiced gram flour batter and deep-fried.

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Salividi originated from the base for Arshelu, this is made; Jaggery syrup is made to which rice flour is added and allowed to cook and Ghee, Dry coconut, and any dry fruits of choice are added. This is served as it is but only during weddings.

Bellam Garelu is a sweet version of Medu Vada where its texture resembles Jalebi once done. A plain Vada is made which is dipped into Jaggery syrup and allowed to drain the excess.

Utanki is a sweet snack made by only one family from Srikakulam, the extreme coastal district of the state. It is a thin batter made with soaked rice, milk, and sugar. To make this crispy net-like crepe, they dip their hand into the batter and let the thin and continuous flow of batter fall into hot oil from the tip of all the 5 fingers. They repeat this process for 5 - 6 times until it is firm and a thin lace forms.

KARNATAKA: this state is known for its world-famous breakfast. However, what we tend to ignore are their lip-smacking snacks. Some popular snacks include,

Avalakki Avrekal mixture is similar to chivda.

Halbai is a rice barfi made in Udupi during the Nagar Panchami festival.

Nippat is a small thick rice flour-based snack, which is spicy and crunchy, often deep-fried.

Halasina Kayi Chips are jackfruit chips seasoned with salt or sometimes with a local spice mix as well.

TAMILNADU: did you know that the word congee (Asian rice porridge) was derived from the Tamil word kanji! That was an unknown fact, time to learn about some unknown snacks from Tamil Nadu.

Sinnai seedai is a savory deep-fried snack made with rice flour and urad dal flour cooked in hot water, which is later portioned, rounded and deep-fried.

Tirunelveli halwa, it is very similar to that of Bombay halwa but has its own identity. It is made with soaked and ground broken wheat, which is later hung overnight to release extra moisture and allows it to ferment. The thick hung wheat paste is cooked with sugar, hot water, and ghee till the time it doesn’t leave the vessel.

Thoothukudi macaroons, yes India has their version of macaroons. These were adopted by the Italian macaroons made by the Portuguese who came in for trade. The only difference is that these macaroons are made with cashew meal instead of almond meal.

Sattur seeval are garlic flavored crispy snacks traditionally cooked on wood-fire. Its main ingredients are Rice Flour, Roasted Gram Dal, Butter, White Sesame Seeds, Garlic, Chilli Powder, Salt, and Groundnut Oil. They can be described as crinkled chips deep-fried in groundnut like.

KERALA: God's own country is popular all across the globe for its cuisine but we have a few favorite snacks to share with you,

Pazham Pori is a deep-fried plantain fritter, the plantain is peeled, sliced lengthwise, and dipped into a gram flour batter and deep-fried.

Banana chips, now who is not aware of these amazing golden looking chips with a beautiful aroma of coconut oil, just a yes any day!

Achappam is a rose cookie. The batter is made with rice flour / refined flour, eggs, sugar, coconut milk. A special mould is used, which is then dipped into hot oil and allowed to heat and then the same is dipped into the batter and then fried. The trick here is the heat up the mould and then dip in the batter so that it acts like a non-stick layer and the cookie leaves the mould when it is cooked.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 BrandCai


Shiladitya Dutta on April 01, 2021:

Worth reading Chef on April 01, 2021:

Good description and also information about the snacks from states of India.Culinary academy of India is a very well known institution and I am follow all your social media give lot of information and also your videos are watched by me regularly. Keep up the good job.

I can say really say the students of Culinary Academy are really lucky to have have such good and learned faculty.


Food Enthusiast

Rajesh Gupta on April 01, 2021:

Very well written. Hoping to see and read more articles like this.

vijaya sri on April 01, 2021:

Good article,I know Telengana and Andhra snacks,But after reading this article got a clear idea of south Indian states snacks

Ankit Mathur on April 01, 2021:

Worth reading...

saibaba on April 01, 2021:

Wow, very informative and got to know about very authentic snacks of India

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