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May 20, 2015

South Indian Full Meals | Lunch Menu For Guests | Thalai Vazhai Ilai Virundhu

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South indian meals

Last week I made this full meals for my guests. Its been years since I posted a South Indian full meal lunch menu here. So I thought of sharing this yummy platter with you all. After Onam Sadya, I din’t get any chance to make an elaborate lunch menu and serve in Thalai Vazha Ilai / Banana leaf. 

Generally South Indians especially Tamil people make this kind of lunch menu for marriage feast, guests, newly wedded couple / Maapilai virundhu or for festivals and occasions. According to Tamil people, serving food in Thalai Vazhai ilai is considered to be the way of showing love and respect towards our guests. Not just that, there is a traditional serving order that has to be maintained while keeping the dishes in banana leaf.

In Tirunelveli, our people give more importance to the serving order. Before I served this platter, I called my mom and asked her about the serving order but still I got confused on where to keep the pickle and kept it wrong I think. So I asked my mom again and wrote this post with corrections. There may be slight variations from the write up and picture. So please don’t get confused. I have divided this post into sections for easier understanding. 

Hope this lunch menu post would help beginners especially newly wedded girls who are new to cooking. In the above platter, you can find (from left) Salt, Poriyal/Curry, Kootu, Thayir pachadi, Pickle, Rasam, Payasam, Curd, Banana,Vada, Rice, Dal, Sambar and Appalam. I have shared all these points based on my understanding and cooking style. Pardon me for mistakes :)

Check out my other state and some more Tamil nadu lunch recipes here .

Thalai vazhai ilai virundhu

First lets see how to place the banana leaf and serve the dishes in order.
  1. Always place the banana leaf such that the broader side of leaf should be on the right side of person who is going to eat. 
  2. Start with salt on upper part left side of banana leaf (as shown in the pic). Some people may need more salt in dishes. Hence salt should be kept so that the person can add if its needed.
  3. Then serve the thayir pachadi on the right side upper part. Then comes kootu. Next to kootu keep poriyal, curry/roast. Here I served carrot thayir pachadi, keerai kootu and potato curry.
  4. Lastly keep the pickle varieties next to salt. Don’t forget to keep a tumbler of water.
  5. In the below part of banana leaf, keep the appalam, chips, vadam, masala vada or urad dal vada, Banana in the left side. Keep the rice in the middle of leaf and put some dal +ghee in one corner of rice. In Tirunelveli, people keep the dal in the right side and pour some ghee over it. In another corner of rice, add some sambar with vegetables.
  6. After the person finished eating dal rice, serve the sambar along with ghee if needed.
  7. Next to sambar, serve vathakuzhambu or more kuzhambu if you have prepared it.
  8. Then comes rasam. Before serving the curd, serve payasam. Some people wish to have in banana leaf and some prefer to have payasam in bowls. So serve it as per their wish.
  9. Lastly add the buttermilk / curd.
  10. After you finish eating, if its a marriage feast, close the banana leaf by pulling the upper part and cover the bottom part with it. It signifies that the person wishes to have this kind of food very often. Whereas if you have this food in a condolence meeting, then you should close the upper part with bottom part in the reverse manner.
South Indian Lunch menu

South Indian Full Meals

South Indian Full Meals South Indian lunch menu for guests - Banana leaf spread / Thalai vazhai ilai virundhu
Cuisine: Indian
Category: Lunch
Serves: Serves 4
Prep time: 45 Minutes
Cook time: 45 Minutes
Total time: 90 Minutes

Vegetables to be chopped
For sambar
  • Raw mango - 1 no (Use 1/4 mango for pickle)
  • Drumstick - 1 no
  • Big onion - 1 no
  • Green chillies - 3 nos
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Coriander leaves - to garnish
For curry
  • Potatoes - 4 nos
  • Big onion -1 no
  • Curry leaves - few
For kootu
  • Keerai - 1 bunch ( I used mulai keerai)
  • Small onions - 5 nos
Other Ingredients
  • Rice – 2 cups
  • Toor dal – 1/2 cup
  • Moong dal – 1/4 cup for serving + 2 tbsp for kootu
  • Sambar powder – as needed
  • Salt & water – as needed
  • Cooking oil,mustard,urad dal,cumin seeds – as required

    I prepared this lunch menu for 4 adults + 1 kid. It took nearly 1 hour 30 minutes for me to finish the preparation. I started around 10 am and finished making all the dishes except rice at around 11.30 am. I used 2 pressure cookers, a small & a big one and 3 kadai. I always pressure cook the rice at the end while making feast so that you can serve the rice hot hot while eating. No worries even if sambar, rasam and other dishes are cold. In fact making these dishes earlier gives more taste. So the earlier you prepare, the better its taste would be ; ))
  • In the previous day night, wash and soak the dal for vada. Soak it over night. Soak the tamarind in separate bowls for sambar and rasam in the previous day night.
  • The next day morning, start the cooking at least 3 hours before serving time. First take a big pressure cooker and add the toor dal, salt, turmeric powder, hing and a drop of oil (for making sambar). Take a small container or tiffin box like thing that suits the cooker. In that, put the moong dal,water, hing, turmeric powder and a drop of oil. This dal is for serving. Wash and cut the potatoes into two and put them inside the cooker. Hope you can get the idea by seeing the picture. It takes nearly 15 minutes for cooking.
South Indian lunch menu
  • In that 15 minutes of time, you can go for chopping works. First grate 2 carrots and finely chop a green chilli for pachadi. Keep in a bowl adding salt. Chop onion, green chillies, Drumstick and mango for sambar. Keep in a plate. Chop a portion of mango into small pieces for pickle. Add salt, red chilli powder and hing to it. Mix well and set aside. Now wash the greens / Keerai twice and chop it roughly. Take it in a small cooker. Chop few small onions for kootu. Keep in a plate. Chop some onions, curry leaves, mint leaves and coriander leaves for vada.
South Indian lunch menu
  • By this time, the pressure would be released in the cooker, dals & potatoes would be ready. So remove the potatoes using a tong and keep them immersed in cold water. It helps to peel the skin easily. Chop them into cubes and set aside.
South Indian lunch menu
  • In a small cooker, take the chopped greens, add moong dal, salt and required water. Cook for 1 whistle in low flame. It takes 10 minutes to cook.
  • In that time, do the grinding job. First grind for vada and then for kootu. Keep them in separate bowl. Mix the chopped onions+greens with vada batter & set aside.
  • Now you have cooked the dal for sambar, dal for serving, potato for poriyal and keerai for kootu. So pressure cooking, chopping and grinding jobs are over simultaneously.
  • Then heat a kadai with ghee and roast the vermicelli for payasam. Add milk and cook it. Transfer the payasam into a bowl and close it with a lid.
South Indian lunch menu
  • In another kadai, make sambar. While the drumstick and mango is getting cooked in tamarind extract, add the ground coconut paste to the pressure cooker in which you cooked the keerai. Let it boil for sometime till kootu thickens.
  • Now the veggies in sambar would have cooked. Add cooked dal to the sambar and let it boil for sometime. Garnish the sambar with coriander leaves and add a tbsp of ghee at the end. Cover the bowl and set aside. Heat oil in another kadai and temper the ingredients for potato curry. Add the peeled potatoes and roast it well.
South Indian lunch menu
  • Sambar, poriyal, kootu making is over. Now heat a small tempering kadai with 3 tbsp of oil and splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, jeera. Add half the tempered items in small quantities to serving dal ( thick dal), thayir pachadi and lastly add the chopped onions in the kadai and saute till transparent. Add it to kootu. Add some coconut oil. Close the kootu with a bowl to retain the aroma.
  • Now make rasam and close the bowl by adding a tsp of ghee. Add some water to the tempered moong dal along with salt and hing. Mix well. Similarly add the curd to the grated carrot with some salt. Mix well. Thayir pachadi is ready.
South Indian lunch menu
  • Just 45 minutes before serving, pressure cook the rice in one burner. Heat oil for deep frying in another burner. Make vada, roast papad, chips or vadam. That’s all.Rice, Sambar, rasam, kootu, curry, thayir pachadi, paruppu/dal,  vada, appalam is ready.
  • Start to serve following the above mentioned order. Enjoy the feast !
  • TIPS : Add a tbsp of ghee in the sambar, garnish with coriander leaves,check for salt and close the lid of sambar bowl.Addition of ghee & coriander leaves gives a nice aroma to the sambar.Similarly add a pinch of sugar and a tsp of ghee to rasam. It enhances the taste and gives a clear rasam while you serve.
    If you want to finish the entire process within an hour, you can do some pre preparatory jobs in the previous day night. Finish the chopping works and refrigerate the vegetables, grated coconut and carrot in separate zip lock bags. Soak the dal for 4 hours and grind the vada batter. Mix onions,greens and refrigerate the batter too. Doing all these jobs will spare 30 minutes of your cooking time on feast day. So its your choice. Enjoy the South Indian Full Meals : ))

Please check out my recipe index page for more sambar, rasam, kootu, poriyal and pachadi ideas.

Try and Amaze your guests and family members with this South Indian Full Meals menu, get the applause !

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Kurinji said...

superb post....

Su said...

What a lovely spread! Very helpful directions for preparing the items in an organized manner too. I'm sure everyone enjoyed the feast a lot :)

Su said...

What a lovely spread! Very helpful directions for preparing the items in an organized manner too. I'm sure everyone enjoyed the feast a lot :)

Chitra said...

Thank u :)