(Last Updated on : 02/12/2017)
Chettinad Cuisine is the cuisine of the Chettinad
region of Tamil Nadu
state in South India
. The Chettinad region is dominated by the Chettiar community. Cuisine of Chettinad is one of the spiciest, oiliest and most aromatic dishes in India. The cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices
in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. Payasam
is the most loved dessert
which is flavoured with nuts on a base of milk
. Chettinad cuisine is also famous for pickles
, particularly with the popularity of spices. Chettinad cuisine is known for the complexity of flavours and is distant from the mild cuisine of traditional Tamil Brahmins.
Features of Chettinad Cuisine
The cuisine of Chettinad is greatly influenced by the nature of the region, which is a dry, arid and hot region. Also the Chettiars brought back many influences
from the history of hosting British
guests during the early 19th century. Chettiars are known for their warm hospitality and the size of their kitchens. They emphasise on joint family
system so every meal
is usually a large and elaborate affair.
The Chettiars map out their history to a settlement near the coastline, so their cuisine also has great seafood. The dishes are generally pungent with fresh ground spices. A variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables
occupy the main course meals which reflect the dry environment of the region. Most of these are eaten with rice
and other rice based food items.
Use of Spices of Chettinad Cuisine
Chettinad cuisine is well known for using so many varieties of spices which are used to make the fresh ground masala and used in the dishes. The chief spices used are dried flower pods, star aniseed
and kalpasi. In addition to these, whole red chillies, fennel
, bay leaf
seeds and fenugreek
are used in the recipes of Chettinad. Traditionally, the spices were prepared and ground using grinding stones, lending a unique texture and flavour.
Delicacies of Chettinad Cuisine
The Chettinad cuisine offers both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Some of the popular vegetarian dishes include Idiyappam
, Paniyaram, Vellai Paniyaram, Karuppatti Paniyaram, Paal Paniyaram, Kuzhi Paniyaram
, Vellai Kurma
, Kaikari Pirattal and many more. Stuffed and steamed dishes like the Kozhakattai are also part of this vast cuisine. A thick gravy version of curry
called Kozhambu is made from coconut milk and spices as a base.
In Chettinad, dry snacks
are mostly popular among the food lovers. The common dry snacks include handmade chips and Murukku
. The snacks are usually served with the filter coffee
famous in the region. An all-day snack also includes the vada which is a deep fried doughnut made with a batter of lentils