Chettinad region is in the state of Tamil nadu in India.‘Karaikudi’, as it is also called, has a reputation for its palatial houses, ancient architecture and culinary heritage. Chettinad style houses are typically huge and have a remarkable style of architecture. For example before entering the house there is a distinctively styled porch at the front to relax called thinnai. After entering the house, the central part of the house is generally an open space with an open top, similar in style to a Moroccan Riad, allowing for abundant sunlight and fresh air into the house. Now a typical Chettinad kitchen is known for its use of mud pots for cooking. Just prior to cooking unique flavour combinations of spices, ginger, garlic, onions etc. are freshly ground using a stone grinder called ammi kallu (a larger form of a mortar and pestle). These fresh flavours are then introduced to create a variety of dishes.
What’s distinctive about Chettinad Flavours : Chettinad flavours are earthy and intense. For example it uses Black Pepper more than Chilli, Fennel more than Cumin, Star Anise, Cloves etc. Ginger, Garlic, Regional Shallots, KalPasi (a form of dried freshwater lichen) and Tamarind are also ingredients which are used heavily in Chettinad dishes.
Tossed Organic Baby Potatoes - Chettinad Style :
Our Chef Ramesh takes inspiration from a simple style of cooking of his family members based in the Chettinad region in India. British grown potatoes are some of the best in the world. Here he uses organic Vivaldi Potatoes to bring about a beautiful medley of flavour and texture. This dish works best as a side dish.
Boil and peel the potatoes.
Heat up two teaspoons of organic coconut fat / coconut oil.
Add 1 teaspoon wild black mustard seeds and let it crackle.
Add 1 teaspoon cumin seed, 1 or 2 split fresh chilli, 2 randomly diced onions and sauté.
Sauté till the onions become soft and start turning colour.
Add 1 or 2 teaspoons Chettinad Curry Powder. Add the 12-14 boiled organic baby potatoes and sauté.
You can either 1) close the plan and let the potatoes slow cook for 5 - 7 minutes 2) keep tossing and roasting them leave the pan open for 5 - 7 minutes
Add salt as suitable. Add some freshly chopped coriander / cilantro and take it off the fire..
Goes well with rice and bead varieties as a side.