This community of traders - the Nattukkottai Nagarathar's - are renowned for their prudence, hospitality and delicious cuisine. Chettinad delicacies spring forth from the frugal resources available in the dry stretch that they have migrated to. Earlier they lived in Kaveripoompattinam.
|The main entry of Chettinad homes are intricately carved.|
Chettinad Cuisine is aromatic, spicy and hearty. The specialty lies is in the simplicity involved in the preparation of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food (all manner of fish, fowl and meats). Marinades are used for meat preparations, rendering it extremely tender. Oil and spices are liberally used in cooking and most dishes have generous amounts of peppercorn, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, chilies, etc. Predominantly, Chettiars are non-vegetarians. Vegetarianism is a relatively new trend.
Some of the popular dishes are masala – a spicy dry dish with onions and spices, poriyal – a dry dish with minimum spices that are made to compliment the varieties of rasam and kuzhambu – ranging from rich gravies to simple ones, embellished accordingly with spices and coconut; and of course the staples – idli, dosai, idiappam, puttu, kuzhakattai etc., side dishes and thuvayals. Some of the different side dishes offered at Chettiar homes to accompany the staples at dinner time are Therakkal, Kosumalli, Vengaya Kose, Cabbage Sambal, Pachadi, etc. Aadi Kummayam (or) Aadikkool made of Urad Flour and jaggery is a mouthwatering sweet treat.
Although well known for their delicious preparations, their repertoire of food items is famous and their range of preserves include pickles, podi’s - roasted and ground spices, preserved sun-dried fruits, vegetables, legumes and berries, meats, vaththals, vadagams and varieties of flour and rice flour that the Achi’s (the ladies of this community are thus referred to) stock for instant preparations to entertain at short notice.