What Makes Savory Egg Puffs A South Indian Favorite

From crepes and rice cakes to savory doughnuts and pancakes with stew, South Indian cuisine is all about flavorful comfort food that highlights regional ingredients, per Rough Guides. The Spruce Eats goes more into depth with this by stating that five southern states make up South India: Kerala (which specializes in seafood), Tamilnadu (known for very spicy vegetarian dishes), Andhra Pradesh (which specializes in spicy seafood and vegetarian meals), Telangana (known for Hyderabadi desserts and tamarind-heavy foods, per Indian Eagle), and Karnataka (which highlights rice and ragi in the South and Marathi-inspired foods in the North, via Food NDTV).

South Indian cuisine relies heavily on spicy ingredients, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, and coconut oil. Meals are often accompanied by chicory coffee and rice, which comes in many forms like lentils, pancakes, and boiled rice.

And then there are savory egg puffs. This on-the-go snack can be found in many coffee shops ad bakeries across South India and is best served with coffee or chai, per The Golden Lamb. But what exactly are egg puffs, and what makes them essential to South Indian cuisine?

Known as kerala egg puffs

According to The Golden Lamb, Kerala egg puffs are crispy puff pastries that contain hard-boiled eggs, which are nestled on rich and tasty masala dollops. The source explains that they're often consumed as a snack or as a quick lunch, especially by office workers.

The Familiar Kitchen notes that egg puff recipes contain many spices, including mustard seeds, ginger, red chili powder, and curry leaves. These are sauteed in coconut oil and then mixed into diced tomatoes. (Spices can also be incorporated into sauteed /onions for an onion masala.) Small spoonfuls of this mixture are then placed inside puff pastry squares and cooked eggs and then baked to a golden-brown color. The source also adds that this recipe is quick, easy to make, and pairs well with cilantro chutney or tamarind-based sauces.

Egg puffs also have Anglo-Indian roots, per Licious, which explains that southern states adopted the egg puff recipe because of its minimal ingredients. Once oven-baked pastries became popular among vendors and bakeries, the egg puff followed suit and gained a considerable following, which carries on to this day.

So whether you're strolling through the streets of South India or whipping up Indian food in your own home, give the crispy and savory Kerala egg puff a try.