Chettinad cuisine is characterized by its complex nature, spicy, loads of spices and lots pf flavour. The cuisine originated from the trade of the Chettiar community with the outside world.
This is a curry that is different is many ways. The base is a robust tomato-based sauce that is pungent with spices. It is topped with a light and fluffy that counterbalances the spicy curry. Together the curry is divine, it packs a punch and is filling. What was unique, at least to me, is the method to steam the omelettes. they turn out sublime, light and fluffy, as compared to the fried versions.
This South Indian cookbook brings to my shelf the unique cuisine of the Chettinad Tamils in South India. This, now popular cuisine, is known to be extremely spicy, complex and distinct. This book is a wonderful collection of recipes that makes this cuisine accessible to us at home.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
For the wet paste:
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon split Bengal (chana) dal
4 tablespoons grated coconut
10 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
For the curry:
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 onion, finely diced
15 shallots, peeled and left whole
12 cloves garlic, sliced
20 curry leaves
4 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
2-4 teaspoons chilli powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tomatoes, puréed smooth
Salt, to taste
Cilantro to garnish
For the omelette:
4 eggs, lightly beaten with salt.
1-2 green chillies, minced
1/4 onion, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Salt, to taste
4 tablespoons cilantro, minced
To make the paste, lightly toast the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, poppy seeds, Bengal gram and grated coconut individually till each is lightly coloured and aromatic. Cool completely and add to a blender with the garlic and water. Blitz till the paste is very smooth. This will take about a minute to get the poppy seeds to break up.
To make the curry, heat the oil in a large pot and add the fenugreek seeds and fennel seeds. sauté for 20 seconds and add the onions, shallots, garlic and curry leaves and cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes till the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the ground coriander, chilli and turmeric and give the mix a quick toss. Add the ground wet paste and fry for 4-5 minutes till the paste is dried out and the oil is poling along the sides. The paste will give out a lovely aromatic smell. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook till the tomatoes are incorporated into the paste, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick resembling a lovely pasta sauce. Taste for salt and spice.
for the omelette, mix all the ingredients and whip till the eggs are foamy, about 3-4 minutes. Spray a steamer tray with oil and pour in the egg mixture. Steam for 6-7 minutes.
While the eggs are steaming, heat the curry. ladle onto a shallow platter. When the eggs are steamed, carefully open the steamer careful not to burn yourself. Remove the hot tray and slowly slide out the omelette onto the curry. Garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately while the eggs are still hot and fluffy. garnish with cilantro.