Chettinad is an attitude towards food. An Indian word for ‘master chef’. And a vibrant, historic trading district in southern India.

Chettinad The kitchen is aromatic and spicy . It is famous for the use of many different spices in the preparation of food, especially meat, fish and chicken . Chettinad attitude to food originates in the small town of Nedungudi , about 600 km south of the multimillion-dollar city Chennai, India’s fourth largest city , formerly known as Madras .

A stuffed banana leaf

A typical Chettinad meal is served – in India,  on a banana leaf which is filled to the brim with a lot of different, fragrant, delicious dishes.

Meat Kitchen in the middle of vegetarian country

The cuisine is known for its many non vegetarian dishes . This is a meat kitchen fostered deep inside the predominantly vegetarian South India .

The most important spices

The dishes get a characteristic, spicy taste of freshly prepared spice mixes (masala). The main spices that characterize the cuisine are dried caper berries ( marathi mokku ), star anise ( anasipoo ) and an exotic lichen named kalpasi . Also spices like tamarind , whole red chili and fennel seeds ( saunf ) are used along with cinnamon , carnations , bay leaves , peppercorns , cumin and fenugreek .

… and all the other spices

The taste is carried by the ingredients , the composition of the spices and by the amount of spices. But also the accessories and the drinks make a mark on the meal.

The story of the Aatchis, the wives and the chefs

In Tamil – that is, South Indian – means aatchi a chef . Maybe in Danish we will also call her a cook of the finest kind . That is, a woman who prepared sumptuous meals for large parties and events in the more affluent homes of the Chettinad area. She could also be married to the master of the house, who can get a lot of love out of food.

For convenience, we can also choose to understand the word in such a way that an aatchi was super good for food . As prosperity increased in the area, the cooks of the finest degree and the wives hired their own kitchen assistants , who helped. When a little more of historical time had passed and the people searched together in larger cities. The many people pulled in the kitchen assistants. And the kitchen assistants got jobs in the cities, big cities and megacities .

The townspeople rumored that the chefs from Chettinad made very good food . Fine people competed to hire chefs trained by the Aatchis in Chettinad. Chettinad came to mean master chef . Some of the master chefs opened their own restaurants and brought spices, cooking methods and everything else the Aatchis had taught them. The restaurants really made Chettinad cuisine popular . 

In short: Chettinad is the finest in Indian food art. But it was created by diligent cooks and married ladies.

The South Indian is proud to carry on the tradition .

We love exciting Indian food. We love Indian food without artificial dyes. We love high quality raw materials. We love that everything is made from scratch. We love to cook high quality food. We love Indian food.