How to Eat With Your Hands ( Like a South Indian)

Introduction: How to Eat With Your Hands ( Like a South Indian)

Eating with your hands as opposed to with cutlery has always been the norm in India.

This instructable is about how to eat a meal with your hands, like a south indian.

Step 1:

Once the banana leaf has been served, press the banana leaf from the central stem, with your thumb and pointer finger so as to make sure the leaf does not curl inwards.

Step 2:

cup some water in your hands,
and sprinkle it over the leaf,
and then clear the water out  of the leaf with the upper part of your hand.

now you have a clean leaf

Step 3:

once the food is served on the leaf,
mix the curry and rice,
use your five fingers to hold some food like the image depicts.

and pick it up and place it in your mouth.
take reference from the pictures.

Step 4:

keep dragging the food towards the side of the leaf that is towards you, that ensures that it is is easier and more accesible to eat.

Step 5:

eating rusum is a bit more trickier,
since it is very dilute,
it is advisable to pat the rice a bit while collecting and mixing it with the rusum, so as it is solidifies.

Step 6:

once there's only a bit of food left, that is mostly liquid in nature,
use one's entire hand to sweep of the mixture and lick it of the four fingers.

when there is very little left, then use only your middle finger and pointer finger to pick up the liquid, slide it slowly through the liquid, so as the liquid comes through and sits in the little curve made between the fingers (by joining them).

refer to the picture for more clarity.

Step 7:

In the end,
if your content with the food, fold the leaf towards yourself,
incase you were disappointed,
fold the leaf in the opposite direction (like our model) :D

there. you now know how to eat like a south indian.

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    7 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 7

    South Indians are great :)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I read some instructions on how to eat soup with your hands (yes, really- with the aid of dumplings) and the most emphasized instruction there was "bend your wrist and keep your fingers pointing downwards so liquid doesn't run down to your elbow".

    I guess with more solid food this isn't as much of a concern but it struck me as a useful thing to bear in mind for people not used to eating with their hands.

    The bit about which direction you fold the leaf is interesting, too- do you have any idea how it arose?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    no idea how it arose.
    shall ask around and tell :)
    interesting question !


    9 years ago on Introduction

    That was an interesting bit of social trivia there.

    Sort of like chopstick etiquette but with your leaf-plate.

    I have to say though, step one, for me, would be to "wash your hands".
    might not be traditional, but if someone is gonna be insulted by my hand-washing, II don't think I care enough about their opinion to mind insulting them :-)

    Kinda neat to see extremely organic, environmentally responsible eating dishes/utensils. Do those restaurants have giant banana leaf compost piles out back?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    haven't seen. shall check !

    haha,well yes probably step one is wash ones hands,didnt mention it as it seemed rather obvious.