Chettinad cuisine hails from the deep southern region of Tamil Nadu. Chettinad cuisine is far cry from the bland cuisine of traditional Tamilian Brahmins—it is one of the spiciest, oiliest and most aromatic in India.The Chettinad region comprising of Karaikudi and adjoining areas is known for both traditional vegetarian dishes like appam, uthappam, paal paniyaram and non-vegetarian dishes made primarily using chicken.
Chettinad cuisine has gained popularity in non-Tamil speaking areas as well. Madurai and the other southern districts of Tamil Nadu are known for non-vegetarian food made of chevon, chicken and fish. Parota made with maida or all-purpose flour, and loosely similar to the north Indian wheat flour-based Paratha, is served at food outlets in Tamil Nadu, especially in districts like Virudhunagar, Madurai and the adjoining areas. Parota is not commonly prepared at home as it is a laborious and time-consuming process.
Although the Chettiars are well known for their delicious vegetarian preparations, their repertoire of food items is famous and includes all manner of fish and fowl and meats, as well as delicate noodle-like dishes and carefully preserved sun-dried legumes and berries that the Chettiar ladies make into curries. Oil and spices are liberally used in cooking and most dishes have generous amounts of peppercorn, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, nutmeg, green and red chilies, etc.
Some of the popular dishes in Chettinad menu are varuval -- a dry dish fried with onions and spices (chicken, fish or vegetables sautéed), pepper chicken, poriyal -- a curry, and kuzambu which has the ingredients stewed in a gravy of coconut milk and spices.In the same range, one can include the numerous pickles, powders, specially roasted and ground spices, dry snacks, papads, appalam and vada. Numerous shops now sell pre-packed snacks like murukkus, small spirals of fried rice dough, chips and other edible ‘hand grenades’ like thattai, masala vada and so on.
The Tamil variation of Mughlai food can be savored in the biryani and paya. The latter is a kind of spiced trotter broth and is eaten with either parathas or appam.
Tamil Nadu is famous for its filter coffee as most Tamils have a subtle contempt for instant coffee. The making of filter coffee is almost a ritual, for the coffee beans have to be roasted and ground. Then the powder is put into a filter set and boiling hot water is added to prepare the decoction and allowed to set for about 15 minutes. The decoction is then added to milk with sugar to taste. The final drink is poured individually from one container to another in rapid succession to make the ideal frothy cup of filter coffee.
Chettinadu Cuisine - Popular Dishes and recipes
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