Ethnic Fermented Foods and Beverages of Tamil Nadu

  • Usha Antony
  • Shankar Ilango
  • Ramachandran Chelliah
  • Sudha Rani Ramakrishnan
  • Kavitha Ravichandran


Traditional foods and beverages derived from the natural fermentation of different food substrates have contributed to the dietary intake of the people of Tamil Nadu including Sri Lankan Tamils and states bordering Tamil Nadu since the early times. These can be broadly grouped as cereal, largely rice- and or millet-based foods and beverages produced by mixed natural fermentation which are nonalcoholic and palm sap-derived alcoholic beverages. The ethnicity and cultural traditions associated with these foods are discussed in addition to the research studies that have documented the science and the newer technologies that have been explored. While data on many foods is minimal or lacking such as pathaneer/neera and toddy (kallu) from palm, extensive studies have been done on idli especially over the last 10 to 15 years. Idli has moved from pan-Indian to global, and the batter production has been successfully commercialized both within and outside India. However, others like pazhaya sadham, which was considered everyday food, are mainly used only among the economically poor and rural households. Millet-based koozh considered a health food is widely consumed by the majority during specific festivals and remains a popular street food even today. Typical dairy fermented foods include curd rice/dahi bath called thayir sadham, spiced buttermilk called moru and the gravy made from curd or buttermilk called mor kuzhambu which are commonly consumed. This chapter focusses on some of these foods based on the data available on them. Recently, a few niche restaurants are introducing many traditional foods for the migrant consumer who is nostalgic for ethnic and traditional foods indicating a trend for revival. The need to study and document these foods is emphasized especially in the current context of the role of microbes in human and animal health as well as ecological sustainability.


Fermented foods of Tamil Nadu Pazhya sadham Idli Koozh Thayir Kallu 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Usha Antony
    • 1
  • Shankar Ilango
    • 2
  • Ramachandran Chelliah
    • 3
  • Sudha Rani Ramakrishnan
    • 4
  • Kavitha Ravichandran
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Fish Nutrition and Food TechnologyTamilnadu Dr J Jayalalithaa Fisheries University, MadhavaramChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Biotechnology, Centre for Food TechnologyAnna UniversityChennaiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Food Science and BiotechnologyKangwon National UniversityChuncheonRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.School of Food Science and BiotechnologyKyungpook National UniversityDaeguRepublic of Korea

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