South Indian Cuisine
A spicy chicken preparation of chicken marinated in yogurt, turmeric, a paste of red chillies, coconut, poppy seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, black pepper, ground nuts, onions and garlic.
The Chicken Chettinad is one of the most popular dishes from the traditional cuisine of Tamil Nadu’s Chettiar community. Generally synonymous with very spicy food, Chettinad cuisine is a complex blend of well-balanced flavours.
It is said in South India that one is lucky to eat like a Chettiar — a small costal community of traders, merchants and bankers who rose to prominence in Tamil Nadu during the reign of the Chola Empire between 3rd and 8th centuries. History tells us that the Chettiars played a key role in south India’s spice trade with countries like Burma, Java, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.
Food was such an essential part of a Chettiar’s life, that the kitchen was one of the largest and most important places in each household. The womenfolk prepared elaborate meals – hand-pounding fragrant spices in stone grinders, chopping vegetables with the aruamanai (iron blade) and burning different firewood to develop specific flavours.
Traditional Chettinad dishes mostly used locally sourced spices like the star anise, pepper, a species of lichen and dried flower pod. Foreign ingredients and preservation techniques like sun-dried meats, berries, salted vegetables and pickles in brine also enriched the culinary repertoire of this well-travelled community.