There is a big difference between learning a few recipes and understanding a cuisine.
To understand a cuisine, you should get the big picture straight. You should know something about the culture, the history, the building blocks and the external influences that have shaped a cuisine.
For example, South Indian cuisine is built on Tamarind, tuvar dal, yogurt and coconut. Almost all the thousands of curries you'll encounter in Tamilnadu, Andhra, Kerala and Karnataka would be just various combinations of these building blocks.
Though most spices used are common, the emphasis on different spices vary between these four states. Each state also has its own set of favourite vegetables and cooking oil. This differing emphasis on the building blocks, spices and different oils lead to completely different set of recipes. However, at their heart, they are all alike, being built from the same four building blocks.
With this big picture in mind, you are less likely to get lost in the mind boggling array of recipes cooked across the south.
Get the big picture for each cuisine, stay true to it and you will find that it is very difficult to goof up a recipe !