Updated: Jun 12, 2022
South Indian cuisine has always been an interesting experience in the culinary world and talking about the royals of the Deccan takes us back to the era of healthy and rich food. In spite of extensive immigration and invasion of foreign rulers, the royals of the Deccan Plateau have given the world the most exotic intermingling of tastes and cooking techniques.
Here's a peek into the culinary world of some of the Royals of southern India.
Mysore is famous for Wodeyars royal family which feasts on Karnataka-style cuisine. The food of this cuisine is simple yet elegant. The weddings in the king's palace offered tamarind rice with green chilies and included vegetables cooked in different gravy or fried with lentils. They also served nonvegetarian simple food like lamb.
The royals enjoyed Koshambari (soaked moong salad), vegetable playas, Gojju (spicy and sour dish), and Huli or Saaru (Mysore version of sambhar). The popular ones in their meals were Chitrana (lemon rice), brinjal rice, and Bisibelebath with Ragi Mudde Soppin saaru (ragi dumplings). Royal kings just like all of us do have a sweet tooth, pacifying it with delicious Mysore Pak, Obbattu (Puran Poli), chiroti to name a few.
With changing times and the British invasion, the cooks were even exposed to baking and preparing stews and learned the art of preserving jams and pickles.
Tamil cuisine is a marked culinary style of Tamil Nadu and both vegetarian and nonvegetarian dishes were served on Banana leaves instead of utensils. After the meals, the banana leaves were not discarded but were used as cattle fodder. The Tamilian royals lived their lives in an eco-friendly style.
Much emphasis was given to the nutritional coefficient of the food with prominent use of coconut milk, dry coconut, and pure ghee. Cooking was mainly done in a heat-controlled environment. A traditional Kesar Maas, a spicy Mutton preparation, is still the favorite.
The amalgamation of Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, and Marathi cuisine makes Thanjavur a foodie's paradise.
Vijayanagaram was the Rajput state in south India. Rajputs always had a spicy liking in their food that could fire up their taste buds. Poodi Koora Mamsam, a fried and twice shredded cooked lamb, was a fond delicacy among the royals when they went on Shikar.
The major focus was on non-vegetarian dishes like Pulsu, Iguru, and Beerakaya which were variegated with spicy flavors. Being health-conscious, the royals always preferred a sumptuous meal of vegetables or lentils with lots of chilies and tamarind.
Thus making Sambhar-Rice a staple diet of Andhra state.
Amir Mahal, the residence of Prince of Arcot, is defined by a large kitchen beholding crested crockery and traditional utensils. The mothers of the royal princes used to cook the meals for their clan. Although the bigger events hosted by the royal families were taken care of by the chefs appointed and supervised by the royal ladies. The ingredients used for all the recipes are chosen from the best farms like tomatoes from Bengaluru, and traditional vessels were used for cooking.
There were different chefs cooking biryani, mutton, kebabs, prawns, etc. in different kitchens. Some royal delicacies like Kaddu ke Lauz - a dessert made with pumpkin, Oud Ka Sherbet- a special kind of Khichdi. The prince of Arcot was fond of Dora, Idli, coconut milk, and Appam with jaggery for breakfast. Lal Baigan Ka Chaar, a blend of rasam was a favorite among the Arcot royals.
With all the uniquely named delicacies prince of Arcot, at Amir Mahal, still hosts banquets for dignitaries from not only India but also abroad.
This is no end but a beginning to exploring the extravagant lives of Indian Royals where food was not just for survival but was a lavish feast in everyday life. The Indian traditions and heirloom recipes have been passed on from generations and are still alive in many households and families. To retain the authentic cuisines and local flavors we are coming up with THE GREAT INDIAN SNACK BOX! follow the link to explore!
Check out Part-1 to explore more of Royal food