The love for spices is found pan India with different versions of the same dish that have a unique balance of spices. Chettinad cuisine is a must-try for foodies that love the prominence of spices in their food.
1. Chettinad cuisine is a blend of fiery spices that do not burn your taste buds but leave a lasting taste on your palate. The cuisine is known for its aromatic spices and red chilies that yield a dark color to the otherwise pale dishes.
2. Chettinad cuisine hails from the Chettiars community. The people were avid traders and contributed a lot to the trade flow of spices to Burma, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and Java.
3. The Chettinad cuisine notion is that it is immensely hot and unbearable to the palate, which is not true. On the contrary, the Chettinad cuisine is an amalgamation of spices that aid in digestion while leaving a tad bit of spicy note on the palate.
4. An authentic Chettinad masala mainly consists of a mix of whole spices, namely, stone flower, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, carom seeds, coriander seeds, dry red chilies, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, Fenugreek seeds, mace, and poppy seeds. The main takeaway is that every household prepares the Chettinad masala differently and may miss out on one or more spices.
5. The Chettinad masala involves roasting the spices mildly. Mild roasting prevents the spices from burning while extracting the flavor and oil from the whole spices. This process is slow and takes about five to ten minutes. After the spices start crackling, transfer them to a plate. The transfer ensures that the whole spices do not overcook or, in this case, burn. After the spices cool down, they are ground, or the spices lose their aroma.
6. The Chettinad masala is the core of any Chettinad preparation. The masala is usually freshly prepared each time a Chettinad dish is in the works. Chettinad masala has a great shelf life and can last up to 4 months if kept in an airtight container. Spice brands also provide prepackaged pouches, but they lack the freshness of the homemade masala.
7. Chettinad cuisine has a stern way of presenting the meal, which highlights its flavors. Usually served on a plantation leaf in which the dish items can overwhelm you. Each plate consists of salt, pickles, chutneys, vegetables, and rice. You always have the Chettinad sambhar, a rasam, and a curd based gravy along with the dishes. The rice is piled in between and absorbs the gravies, and the vegetables served with it.
8. Famous dishes of the Chettinad cuisine include the Idiyappam, Dosai, Vendakkai Varuval, Kaikari Pirattal, Mutton Chukka, Kada Fry, Nandu Masala, and a few others. Chettinad chicken is the renowned dish emanating from the cuisine that adds punch to the otherwise bland chicken. The original dish is dry and fiery, but it has transformed into a gravy that is eatable with rice, roti, and parottas over the years.
9. Gaithersburg might not be in India but has a crafty food outlet that serves authentic Chettinad cuisine. DosaandChat presents its authentic version of the Chettinad chicken that tastes well with rice and roti. The gravy is dark brown and uses the Chettinad masala, coconut, curry leaves, tomatoes, shallots, and a few secret spices that make it an absolute joy on the palate. Extensively cooked chicken tends to be dry and bland, but the Chettinad chicken at DosaandChat is juicy and retains the curry's taste.
10.The secret is nothing but love and patience with which the dish is prepared at the restaurant. Slowly simmering in its juices, the chicken falls off the bone in the first attempt and is nit rubbery and chewy. Do give the Chettinad chicken at DosaandChat a try and relive the taste of authentic Chettinad cuisine.