Chettinad, a region in the south of Tamil Nadu, is famous for its cuisine, which uses a lot of spices and freshly ground masalas. Known for its rich flavours, Chettinad cuisine is said to be the spiciest cuisine in southern India.
Traditionally, Chettiars (the inhabitants of this region) were vegetarians. However, around the 18th century, they established their businesses in various parts of the world such as Singapore, Malaysia, Burma, and Ceylon, and with time, non-vegetarian food started being included in Chettinad cuisine. Over time, non-vegetarian Chettinad cuisine has gained immense popularity, but there are still some vegetarian dishes that are known for their flavours.
Bayside Journal lists down some such dishes for all the vegetarians out there.
1. Chettinad Vellai Kurma
Chettinad Vellai Kurma is a famous vegetarian dish that ideally consists of nine vegetables but there can be some variations. You may even add vegetables of your choice. Vellai Kurma is generally a white-coloured curry. Every part of South India may has different variations in terms of the way this dish is prepared. The same gravy can be used to make mutton kurma as well. The addition of coconut oil gives the curry a wonderful aroma. This can be served with chapattis, parathas, idiyappams, or appams.
2. Summa Kuzhambu
Summa Kuzhambu is a gravy made with no vegetables. The name ‘Summa Kuzhambu’ in Tamil literally means ‘just like that’. This gravy can be made almost instantly. Thee dish is found only in Chettinad households. Summa Kuzhambu has a Rasam-like consistency. This gravy is given to women after childbirth and to people who are facing acidity problems as it helps with digestion.
3. Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu
Brinjal is a popular vegetable in South India. Ennai Kathirikkai Kuzhambu is an is a Chettinad vegetarian dish made with brinjal. It consists of fried brinjal in a spicy tamarind gravy. Sometimes, the brinjals can be stuffed with a filing as well. This gravy is usually served with rice.
4. Vengaya Kosu
Vengaya Kosu is a side dish, which is eaten with idlis and dosas. The recipe has just two main ingredients, that is, tomato and potato, but it tastes delicious since spices such as dry red chili, coconut, cardamom, and coriander seeds are used that spice up the dish. This is essentially a simple dish but stays true to Chettinad flavours.
5. Brinjal Rice
Brinjals are quite mundane vegetables. We should probably turn to the Chettiars to teach us innovative recipes with brinjals. Brinjal rice or Kathirikai Sadam is one such dish. Totally sounds like a dish worth trying!
6. Chettinad Rasam
Rasam is one of the traditional dishes of South India. Chettinad Rasam is easy to make and is served with rice and papadam. Chettinad Rasam powder used in the preparation of rasam is made in large quantities. The number of spices used to make this kind of rasam are way more that the spices used in regular rasam.