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.
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 sauteed), pepper chicken, poriyal - a curry, and kuzambu, which has the ingredients, stewed in 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.
Chettinaad Cuisine: Trump Card of Tamil Nadu
If you like your food hot and spicy and non-vegetarian, then you must try Chettinaad cuisine, the speciality of Tamil Nadu. Be it a fish, chicken or mutton Chettinaad preparation, the flavours of freshly ground spices especially pepper, chillies, garlic, ginger and liberal amounts of oil blend superbly well to make every preparation a speciality. Some of the Chettinaad delicacies: Nannari Sarbath and Nongu are summer drinks that help in reducing body heat; Chicken Chettinaad (chicken pieces cooked in a gravy of onions and tomatoes flavoured with curry leaves, coriander and ground spices); Appu Chicken Dosai and Madurai Kottu Poratta which goes well with river fish gravy, paya gravy (made out of lamb trotters, a Moghlai touch) and mutton liver fry making the combination simply irresistible. Some of the other Chettinaad specialities include Pallatur Mutton Masala, Madurai Malli Chicken, Chicken 88, Appu Karuvattu Thokku (made from dry fish), Viral Fish Fry and Nattu Kozhi Milagu Varuval.