Chettinad is a quaint region in Tamil Nadu which is famous for its aesthetically-designed mansions dating back to the 19th century, majestic temples, cotton sarees and, of course, the scrumptious Chettinad cuisine. Prepared with an assortment of spices and using sun dried vegetables and meats, the dishes emanate a tantalizing aroma making them hard to resist.
The preparation and style of serving dishes adds to the uniqueness of Chettinad cuisines. Instead of the steel or plastic plates, the dishes are served on huge banana leaves. The foods cannot be placed randomly as each one has its own distinctive space. The top left corner is reserved for the dishes that are to be served first. The centre is for rice and chapattis, while the bottom left for appalams, fritters etc. Other ingredients such as varuval, masiyal, urundai, etc too have their own space.
The Chettinad cuisine is an integral part of the culture of the Nattukotai Chettiars, a mercantile community of Tamil Nadu. However, the past few years have witnessed the popularity of the dishes transcending the borders of Tamil Nadu. The best part is that each dish is unique in terms of taste and preparation. Some Chettinad dishes that you must try at least once in your lifetime include.
Kozhukattai is a popular dish which can be either sweet or sour depending on your taste. Resembling the modaks, Kozhukattai are rice flour dumplings, which are steamed and filled with ingredients like coconut, jaggery, etc. The dish is usually partaken during the festive season.
Cabbage carrot poriyal
If you love cabbages, then you must try the cabbage carrot poriyal. A vegetable dish that is prepared with cabbages, carrots and other ingredients, it uses few spices. Though the dish is quite simple, it is extremely delicious. It becomes all the more tempting when taken with tomato rasam.
Chettinad cuisine has a number of dishes that would suit the taste buds of non-vegetarians. One of these is the Kada Fry, which is quail meat. This crispy dish is best served with naan, rotis and any variety of curry.
There is a variety of fish curry to choose from in Tamil Nadu. One of these is the Meen Kuzhanbu, which is one of the most popular dishes. This is one of the rare dishes where coconut is not used. However, spices are used abundantly. The Meen Kuzhanbu is usually served with rice. But, it would also taste quite well with rotis or naan.
Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu
Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu is a curry and is extremely spicy. The dish comprises lentil balls immersed in tamarind sauce. The preparation is quite simple and various flavours are used in its making. The dish is best served with rice.
Though here we have mentioned just a few dishes, but there are many others like Ennai Kathrikai, Karaikudi Eral Masala, Milagu Kozhi Varuval, Vazhaipoo Meen Kuzhambu, etc. which are as delicious as the ones mentioned above. Tamil Nadu is teeming with modern Indian restaurants serving Chettinad cuisine. The reputation of these dishes has travelled far and is well much in demand internationally too. Right in the heart of London, Ooty serves wonderfully curated south Indian dishes for all the lovers.