Pongal is a sweet rice dish that is usually eaten during special or ceremonial occasions in Sri Lanka. It is usually cooked in a clay pot over an open fire. Milk and water are boiled first, and according to Tamil beliefs, if the liquid spills over the pot it will bring good luck and prosperity to the family.

The preparation of pongal is a family affair because each family member ceremonially adds a handful of rice to the pot. Subsequently, remaining rice is added to the dish with mung beans, cane sugar, and ground cashews. Pongal is served on banana leaves, and before it is consumed the entire family says their prayers to the Sun god.

Masala Dosa

A traditional southern Indian dish known as masala dosa is popular throughout the country, made from a batter of soaked rice and lentils that is baked into a thin pancake and usually stuffed with potatoes, onions, and mustard seeds. The dish is often garnished with grated coconut and chopped coriander.

With its huge popularity, there are also some variations of the dish, such as mysore masala dosa, rava masala dosa, onion masala dosa, and paper masala dosa. It is usually consumed as a quick snack or as a part of any meal of the day.

Chicken 65

Chicken 65 is a classic poultry dish with origins in Chennai, India. It consists of deep-fried chicken that is marinated in ginger, lemon, red chiles, and a variety of other spices. There are a few theories about the origin of chicken 65. The most popular theory says that it was created in Tamil Nadu by A. M. Buhari in 1965.

Another one says that the original dish was made with 65 hot chili peppers, as a testament of manliness. There are also some unlikely theories, such as the one claiming that the chicken was cut into 65 pieces, or that the chicken was 65 days old when the dish was prepared.


Sambar is a popular curry dish prepared with a tamarind-based broth, lentils, and vegetables. It originates from Tamil Nadu, but it is also very popular in Sri Lanka and throughout South India. The dish is traditionally served with steamed rice or various Indian flatbreads.

Sambar was created as a mistake by the Maratha ruler Shivaji’s son named Sambhaji. As the head chef was away, Sambhaji wanted to prepare dal for himself, and he added a bit of tamarind into the pot during the cooking process. The royal chefs scolded him, since tamarind is not used in dal.


Pulihora is a popular south Indian dish that can easily be found in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. It consists of rice, turmeric, tamarind, curry leaves, coriander, ginger, and green chiles. Additionally, yellow lentils, roasted sesame seed powder, and mustard seeds can be added to enhance the already rich flavors of the dish.

It is commonly prepared for festivals, yellow in color due to turmeric – considered sacred and symbolizing festive occasions in the Hindu world. The word puli in its name means sour, reflecting the tangy flavor of the dish. However, spicy and salty flavors that are also present in the dish are well balanced with the sour tamarind.

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