Chettinad is well known for the variety of delicacies, a traditional gastronomical feast limited to the community. However, this food has become the pride of Tamil Nadu now. Chettinad food is known for the elaborate blend of spices which is almost against my method of cooking. However, now that I had decided to make the Chettinad chicken fry in the most proximal way as possible.
The traditional Chettinad dishes use locally available spices like the star anise, pepper, KalPasi (stone flower) and Marathi mokku (dried flower pods).Chetinadu cuisine every day is a celebration by itself. They have a certain method of serving the items and there are always a series of items to be served. The ladies in the houses prepare the spices by hand grinding them minutely. On my last visit to a friends daughters ear piercing ceremony at Karaikudi, I happened to watch the culture and culinary exhibition of the finest ever seen.The huge Chettiar house and the temple that belonged to them was a piece of art. Of course, I did not miss some modern artifacts around which was because all members were settled out of the country and bought decors on their visit back home.
Today I made the most popular of Chettinad Chicken pepper fry which is a culinary gem made with tender chicken simmered in a medley of ground spices and is must to try. I made Lemon Rasam and rice to go with it, alternatively Parathas are good to go as well.
Here is how we can make it the simplest way I could figure out.
Chicken – approx 800gms
Onion – 3-4 small /2 big
Curry leaves – 1 cup
Tomato – 2 small/ 1big
Garam Masala Powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Green Coriander- 2-3 tbsp
Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste (1 1/2 tsp)
Crush to coarse powder :
Whole Garam Masala – Approx 3-4 pieces of cloves, cinnamon (1 inch each), Cardamon, bay leaves
Saunf – 1 tsp
Pepper – 2 tsp (crushed)
Coriander – 1 1/2 tsp
Jeera – 1 1/2tsp
1. Heat oil in a wok.
2. Add saunf (Aniseeds). When they splutter, add curry leaves. When curry leaves become dark green in color,it indicates they are done. At this stage, remove 10 -12 leaves and keep aside for garnishing.
3. Now add the the whole garam masala.
4. Add onion,tomatoes,Crushes masala mix,Turmeric powder, , Green dhania powder and salt.
5. Add 1 cup water and cover to cook. In approx. 20 minutes when the water is used, remove the cover and cook for 10min. This makes the chicken crispier from outside.
6. Remove from heat and garnish with fried curry leaves.