One of the rare non-vegetarian cuisines of south India, Chettinad hails from the deep southern region of Tamil Nadu. The cuisine is one of the spiciest and most aromatic in India and is also famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing dishes, especially non-vegetarian dishes.
Chettinad Cuisine originated from the kitchens of the Chettians. The cuisine had its origin in a small village called Nedungudi, about 600 km south of Chennai. Like other south Indian cuisine, a typical Chettinad menu is served on a banana leaf with many mouth-watering dishes. Initially, it was the aachis who prepared food for the feast in Chettiar homes. Interestingly, many of the cooks learned their skills from the aachis when working in Chettiar homes. Later, as they moved into the urban and semi-urban areas due to the lure of business, they popularized Chettinad cuisine, which led to the proliferation of Chettinad restaurants.
Chettinad cusine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas, and topped with a boiled egg that is usually considered an essential part of the meal. The most important spices used are marathi mokku (dried flower pods), anasipoo (star aniseed) and kalpasi (dried bark).
Apart from these, regular spices such as tamarind, whole red chillies and saunf (Fennel seeds) are also used along with cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorn, cumin seeds and fenugreek
Chettiand cusine has several variations of fish, prawn, mutton, and chicken dishes, of which the Chettinad pepper chicken is a specialty. Along with hot and spicy dishes, the cuisine consists of an array of vegetarian dishes. The cuisine will surely be a delight for those who like hot and spicy non-vegetarian dishes. Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice-based accompaniments