Chettinad Spices and Chettinad Masala

On February 9, 2018


Chettinad is the land of the Nattukottai Chettiars, an affluent community that made their fortune through trading, business and banking. Chettinad has emerged as one of the most diverse tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu renowned for its local cuisine, temples and grand architecture.

Of the many aspects that attract tourists to Chettinad, the role of cuisine of Chettinad is really prominent. Chettinad items can often be found in restaurants that offer South Indian food. Though they may not offer the unique taste and aroma of the food prepared in Chettinad, they still offer something for everyone looking for Chettinad cuisine.

Chettinad cuisine is just like the culture of Chettinad; colorful, flavored and earthly. One of the most distinct and defining aspects of the local cuisine here is the way spices are used in the food. It is often said that Chettinad food is the education on how spices can be used in dishes. Though the spices used in different dishes are all the same, the flavor, taste and aroma they give to the dish are extremely different.

There is a wide range of spices used in the Chettinad cuisine, and the major ones are star aniseed, kalpasi—a type of lichen—tamarind, chilies, fennel seed, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorn, cumin seeds and fenugreek. Along with these, as per the requirements of dish being made, several other spices are also made use of.

The flavors of the cuisine are really intense and unforgettable. Fundamentally pepper-based, Chettinad cuisine is clearly branded for its impeccable spice quotient. For people who are not used to having food this spicy, they can always have it toned down to the spicy levels that they are comfortable with. Chettinad cuisine is easily one of the spiciest cuisines available in India.

In offering the unique taste and aroma to the cuisine of Chettinad, the role of Chettinad masala is really big. Chettinad masala is a specially made masala and the main ingredients of the same are desiccated coconut, red chili, green cardamom, coriander leaves, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, star anise, bay leaf and curry leaves. All these ingredients are dry-roasted and coarsely powdered to get the perfect Chettinad masala.

As much as the architectural wonders and temples of Chettinad can thrill and excite the visitors, the food of Chettinad can thrill you, too. The gastronomical adventure that you will find yourself drawn back to tasting the unique food of Chettinad will surely stay fresh in your taste buds for sure.