South Indian Cookbook

Indian Recipe Vegetarian Dishes

Throughout India, and especially South India, vegetarian recipes provide the basis for many meals. Many people throughout the world are turning to vegetarian recipes and India has a lot to offer in variety as well as being nutritionally balanced. In Madras (Chennai), I enjoyed many vegetarian meals at local restaurants and did not miss the meats that I normally expect. The flavors of the curries are rich and varied and allow for an incredible number of flavor combinations in the context of the Indian meal.

Varieties of Lentils

Throughout India there is a wide variety of lentils, or dals used in the vegetarian dishes, which are tasty as well as nutritious. The most common varieties of dals are: Bengal gram dal, masoor dal, moong dal, toor dal, and red dal. Each dal has specific qualities that are brought out by different dishes. In most cases the dals will take time to cook, so advanced planning is key, although a pressure cooker can save a lot of time.

Vegetarian Recipes

Vegetable Curry or Korma

Masala Dosai

Vegetable Samosa


Potato Crumble

Sambar , which uses Toor Dal, accompanies almost every meal in South India. Sambar, or Sambhar, and rice with curds or yogurt makes a filling meal by itself! Meals are often finished with a thin soup or Rasem.


Many of the wonderful sauces used in meat dishes can also be used with Indian recipe vegetarian as well. For example, Green Curry, which can be used with mutton works wonderfully with a variety of vegetables. In families that have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian members, one curry, or masala can be made and separated for use with meat and vegetables. Some of the vegetarian recipes are tamarind based and are made into a rich, dark sauce. There are also some tasty vegetable crumbles such as the potato crumble, also called potato puttu which is used with masala dosa, or the carrot crumble. In some vegetarian households the unfertilized egg is considered acceptable. I have included an egg curry recipe.

As you try these Indian recipes vegetarian, I am sure that you will find them interesting, varied and accessible. For those who are used to meat, I am sure that, like me, you will not miss the meat. And for those who rely on vegetarian recipes, you will find these quite complete nutritionally

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