Chettinadu Food – Marriage Cuisine

Chettinadu Food – Marriage Cuisine

Chettinad is a region of the Sivaganga district of southern Tamil Nadu state, India. Karaikudi is the capital of Chettinad, which includes Karaikudi and 74 other villages. Chettinad is the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars (Nagarathar), a prosperous banking and business community. Many of this community’s members migrated to South and Southeast Asia, particularly Ceylon and Burma, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The people of Chettinad speak Tamil. Today there is a diaspora of Chettinad people who live in places such as the USA, Singapore and Malaysia.

Chettinad is well known for its Chettinad cuisine, mansions, and temples. “Chettinad” also means a social caste that specializes in the preparation of food. Chettinad cuisine offers a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.Chettinads are considered master chefs who prepare food that reflects the excellence that people in Chennai/South India look for in the preparation and serving of food. Some cuisines have been renamed, such as Chicken Chettinad (Spicy Chicken Curry) or Veg Chettinad (a curry of selective vegetables) to reflect the specialty and care given during preparation of food.

The word Chettinad, reminds the numerous mouth watering delicacies that have transcended the boundaries of Tamil Nadu to carve a worldwide following.

Chettinad Breakfast or tiffin includes


  • idly (steamed rice cakes)
  • dosai (a pancake made from a batter of rice) 
  • lentils crisp fried on a pan, vada (deep fried doughnuts made from a batter of lentils)
  • pongal ( a mish mash of rice and lentils boiled together and seasoned with ghee, cashew nuts, pepper and cummin seed)
  • uppuma (cooked semolina seasoned in oil with mustard, pepper, cummin seed and dry lentils.)
  • coconut chutney
  • Milagai chutney
  • sambar (seasoned lentil broth) 
  • mulaga podi (a powdered mix of several dried lentils eaten with oil).

Some of the most popular dishes in vegetarian. One or many of them includes in breakfast :

chettinad idli

  • Idiyappam
  • Paniyaram
  • Vellai paniyaram
  • Karuppatti paniyaram
  • Paal paniyaram
  • Kuzhi paniyaram
  • Kozhakattai
  • Masala paniyaram
  • Kadikoozh
  • Kandharappam
  • Seeyam
  • Masala seeyam
  • Kavuni arisi & athirasam.

Chettinad or Chettiar Lunch 

A Chettiar lunch is generally vegetarian. A wedding lunch generally comprises six grains, nine savoury side dishes and  sweets (including fruit).

veg recipes for chettinad, vegetarian thali

A standard lunch is normally made up of :


  • Boiled rice
  • Ghee for flavouring rice
  • cooked dhal
  • sambar (Main ingredients: vegetable and thick gravy of dhal)
  • kara kuzhambu (Main ingredients: vegetable and chettinadu special spices)
  • thaneer kuzhambu (Main ingredients: vegetable and light gravy of dhal)
  • soup (Main ingredients: vegetable and dhal extract)
  • rasam (Main ingredients: tamarind juice and pepper)
  • kootu (Main ingredients: vegetable and dhal or coconut)
  • poriyal (Main ingredients: vegetable and dhal or coconut)
  • masiyal (Main ingredients: mostly greens)
  • pachchadi (Main ingredients: vegetable, tamarind juice and dhal)
  • masala (Main ingredients: vegetable and chettinadu special spices)
  • curd
  • appalam
  • variety of pickles
  • payasam (a sweet conclusion of full meal)

More or less, every chettiar cuisine will have this menu style (just change in vegetables).

Chettinad food offers a variety of non-vegetarian dishes also. As Chettiars had business contacts throughout the world from time immemorial their cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. Chettinad food is less spicy, less oily and harmless to the stomach. Minimum quantity of oil, spice, tamarind and coconut is used in the real Chettinad food. The meat is restricted of fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken and mutton. Chettiars do not eat beef and pork. The meals is incomplete without crisp papads or appalam.

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