There are virtually unlimited options you can choose from across the length and breadth of the state. The stunning coastline that embraces its eastern and southern borders provides access to the incredible seafood of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.
Tamil Nadu, the southeasternmost state of India, is known as the "land of temples." It is also for good reason, as the splendor of the temples here is unparalleled. Their ancient sculptures and tall stances reflect the glory of the land throughout the ages, making them must-visit places. And if you crave some grub that matches the old glory and lofty ambitions of the temples, then you should grab the delicious meat offerings of the state.
There are virtually unlimited options you can choose from across the length and breadth of the state. The stunning coastline that embraces its eastern and southern borders provides access to the incredible seafood of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. The chefs of the many culinary hotspots conjure up magical recipes straight from the past while adding a touch of modernity. This concise guide will take you on a tour of Tamil Nadu's tantalizing meat-based menu.
A specialty from the Chettinad region of TN, Mutton Kuzhambu (pronounced Koo-lum-boo) is a spicy village-style curry that goes with a host of dishes like idly, dosa, and rice items. The mutton used is goat meat that is drowned in a curry base made from onion and tomato. Adding to its taste is a delicious paste that is prepared with white poppy seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, black peppercorns, garlic, onions, ginger, dry red chilies, and fresh coconut. This thin curry finds a special place on the meal plate due to the punch provided by the combination of coconut and poppy seeds.
This biryani variety is TN’s contribution to the mouth-watering list of rice item varieties. It started in 1975 with the opening of the Anand Vilas restaurant in Dindigul city. The dish was named after the founder, Nagaswami Naidu, who wore a type of turban called Thalappa. What makes this biryani special is the short-grained variety of rice used instead of the typical long-grained variety. This change contributes to its unique taste, slightly sticky nature, and aroma. The meat is a choice between chicken and mutton.
Carrying the complete name Kongunadu Vellai Biryani, this variety completes the quest for biryani lovers who want the dish but not the strong spices that accompany it. It's a subtle kind of biryani made from the fragrant Seeraga samba rice, which is a short-grained variety. Its meat is usually chicken but may include mutton in some cases. Adding to its pleasant aroma are green chilies that are ground into a paste before addition, along with other spices that have met the same fate. The mouthwatering flavor of this dish is due to the use of coconut milk.
Yes, it is a curry with a name that’s not for the faint of heart. But this curry doesn’t come with a smell of blood, contrary to its name. It is also a dish from the Chettinad region of TN and is made using the blood of a goat or lamb. The uniqueness of this dish is the fact that the blood of the animal is used instead of the actual meat. The blood is turned into a jelly-like substance that resembles the liver in consistency. It goes into a frying pan with minced small onions, garlic, curry leaf, grated coconut, and green chilies, along with a few teaspoons of cooking oil to marinate it in. It goes well with both sambar and curd rice as a side dish, while some may add it as the main stew for rice.
Tamil Nadu shares this luscious seafood with its neighboring southern states but adds its own special touch to it. Known locally as Kanava fish, the squid is cut into rings and fried with many spices. These include ginger-garlic paste, chili powder, pepper powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and coriander powder. The vegetable used is almost exclusively onions, though some may add French beans, bell peppers, and carrot scrapings. It serves as an appetizer, and with good reason, as its reputation can create an appetite even under full-bellied conditions.
Karuvadu Kuzhambu (Dry Fish Curry)
This curry has a reputation for scaring even the most ardent meat eaters in the state because of the strength it demands from its makers. It is another contribution of the Chettinad region of the state and has an authentic local flavor and aroma. The dry fish is chopped into pieces and mixed with thick tamarind paste. Then, kuzhambu (dry red chili powder) is added for the spicy flavor, along with cumin and turmeric powders. Cumin, mustard, fenugreek seeds, garlic, and curry leaves complete the spice and herb list. Vegetables added for taste include sliced onions, tomato, brinjal, drumstick, and field beans. Topping it all for the added localization is coconut milk. It goes well with rice and breakfast items like dosa, idly, etc.
Tamil Nadu is one of the most industrious states in India, and it is much the same in the culinary department. The rich history of the state that housed some of the great dynasties of South India has been endowed with a wealth of meat dishes as a part of its culture. Its welcoming nature means those dishes are just waiting to be savored by any visitor, and looking deeper will only reveal more delicacies.