Chettinad cuisine

Chettinad is a region comprising of nearly 75 villages in sivagangai and pudukottai districts of Tamilnadu. Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine of a community called the Nattukotai Chettiars, or Nagarathars as they call themselves, from the Chettinad region of TamilNadu state .Chettinad cuisine is supposed to be the most aromatic and spiciest cuisine in South India. It is well known for using so many varieties of spices which are used to make the fresh ground masala and used in the dishes. Chettinad cuisine is famous for the spicy non vegetarian dishes made with fish, crab, shrimp, chicken and goat (mutton). People in chettinad, use the combination of green chillies, dried red chillies and black pepper in such a way that the dishes are spicy and at the same time very tasty also.

It uses a variety of spices and the dishes are made with fresh ground masalas. Chettiars also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice accompaniments as dosaisappamsidiyappams, and idlis.

Traditionally meals served in Chettinad style is on banana leaves, follow a specific protocol – each dish has a designated space and order in which it has to be served. Items served first are placed at the top left corner of the leaf, progressively moving towards the right in the following order – salt, pickle, mor milagai (sun dried chillies in curd), varuval (a spicy dry dish), kootu (a lentil curry), urundai (fried lentil balls), poriyal (sautéed vegetable dish) and masiyal (a vegetable mash). Appalams (papadums), fritters and fries are placed at the bottom left while rice and chapatti, paired with sambar, rasam or kuzhambu, occupy the centre. The bottom right is reserved for sweet dishes like ukkarai or paal payasam.