Chettinad Cuisine: What Makes This Cuisine One Of The Spiciest In India; 5 Dishes To Try

The southern states of India are treasure troves of rich and robust flavours that can make anyone drool in no time. The use of spices, coconut and tamarind are quite evident in the cuisines of south India and there’s no denying the same. One such regional cuisine that has all the above features is the Chettinad cuisine. With its roots in Tamil Nadu’s Chettinad region, this cuisine uses an assortment of freshly ground spices including cumin, fenugreek, fennel, clove, bay leaf, turmeric and tamarind. And this spice blend is responsible for the bold and spicy flavours in the dishes of Chettinad cuisine. However, if there’s anything that sets this culinary style apart from others is the use of black stone flowers and dried flower pods. A typical meal from this region comprises curries along with appams, rice, dosais, adais and idlis along with buttermilk to scale down the heat of the curries. 

Legend has it that the cuisine was brought to Tamil Nadu by the Chettiars. The mass exodus of Chettiars from the Coromandel coast to the hot and arid region of Tamil Nadu was prompted by a flood in the 8th century. These Chettiars were masters of spice export to countries like Java, Burma, Ceylon and Mauritius and their engagement in the trade is claimed to be responsible for the extensive use of spices in the cuisine.Excited to try the cuisine already? We have found five Chettinad curries for you to relish.

1. Chettinad Chicken

One of the most popularly found dishes in any chicken menu, Chettinad chicken curry is all things flavourful and aromatic. Made with aromatic masalas from this part of the country, Chettinad chicken curry is perfect to be paired with anything - from rice to flatbreads and dosa.

2. Chettinad Biryani

Love biryani? You need to try Chettinad biryani for sure. The spicy and bold flavours when paired with raita will leave you drooling over them.

3. Chettinad Mutai Kuzhambu

A traditional egg curry, Chettinad mutai kuzhambu is perfect to be paired with dosas and rice alike. The flavourful gravy along with the boiled eggs coat your palate with delicious flavours that are enough to make you drool. The curry also gives out a tangy flavour from the tamarind pulp and the sambar powder in it.

4. Chettinad Mushroom Masala

If you want to include a flavourful vegetarian dish for your guests, this Chettinad mushroom masala is the one for you. The spicy mushroom gravy is made with a tempering of curry leaves, fennel seeds and peanut oil and is garnished with freshly shredded coconut.

5. Chettinad Urulai Roast

A simple baby potato fry made with the region’s special masala, Chettinad urulai roast is a flavourful and simple dish that you can include in your meals. You can pair this dish with appams and rice as a side dish and enjoy a wholesome meal.