Chettinad cuisine is the most common type of food from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. In the early 90s, Tamilians were famous for their exotic spices, sun-dried meats, and dry recipes. In the beginning, the food made by the Chettiars or traders was primarily vegetarian but due to the increase in consumption of non-vegetarian food throughout the state, Chettinars followed suit with their dishes becoming non-vegetarian as well.
What are the origins of Chettinad Cuisine?
In the late 18th century, Chettinad was established in many places including Celone, Burma, The Dutch East Indies, and many more places as a result of the growing trade between India and other regions. Meenakshi Meyyappan and Sumeet Nair wrote a book about the flavor and recipes of Chettinad cuisine and explained the origins.
Ancestors traveled places and got inspired by the different ways of cooking and preserving. The foreign ways and their preservative techniques made their food authentic. Their perfect quantities of adding their exotic species on their signature delicacies.
How is it cooked and served?
The simple way of cooking food with essential spices and transforming them into their exotic Chettinad masala is still a secret. A perfect Chettinad meal consists of many dishes. They are mostly eaten with rice like Chicken Chettinad or made of rice like idlis. The usage of seafood is mostly preferred in these dishes.
Traditional meals are served on a banana leaf where they follow some rules like which food item should be served after what and how it should be consumed. There are many interesting practices while eating such as having an odd number of dishes being served which is still being followed. Having the dishes served hot and fresh is an experience that most remember their whole lives. Not only their mouthwatering recipes but also their way of garnishing and serving the food conveys their love for guests.
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