Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. Spicy in this case refers to the abundant use of spices and not tongue searing chilli-hot kind of spiciness. Chettinad region covers the Tamil Nadu state in southern India and the community living in this region are known to be mostly wealthy and successful people, attributed by their excellent business acumen.
Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food and most of these spices are imported from India. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas. They also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region.
Lovers of Indian food, particularly Chettinad dishes will be happy to know that Chettinad Palace in Subang serves some of the best southern Indian delights and at very affordable prices too.
The breakfast items in Chettinad Palace are freshly made upon order. Besides the usual idli and vadai, there’s Kuli Paniyaram (RM0.70 each). It is the first time I came across this and I was intrigued by its shape. Similar to the idli, it is made from idli rice, raw rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds. A special kuzhi paniyaram vessel is used to shape and fry them into that unique round form. The texture is soft and fluffy and is positively addictive when dipped in curry or chutney – you won’t be able to stop at one!
If you are a fan of thosai like me, you’ll be ecstatic to know that there are more than 20 varieties on their menu! It’s a hard task trying to decide which one to go for and will require many repeated trips back to the restaurant to try them all. Prices range from RM1.70 for the plain thosai to RM4 for the special Chettinad Thosai which has masala and vegetables wrapped in it. The Ghee Thosai (RM2) is my favourite – must order!
I can’t decide whether I like the thosai or their barotta better. I was told barotta is the “mother of roti canai” and I think it lives up to that title pretty well. The barotta in Chettinad Palace is to die for. Very similar to the common roti canai, the barotta has a denser feel to it, yet it is lighter and crispier! It doesn’t sound plausible but you really have to try it to know what I mean. It’s one of the best rotis I’ve ever had. Prices range from RM1.60 for the plain barotta to RM3.20 for the sardine and egg version.
For lunch, the restaurant serves banana leaf sets for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. A vegetarian meal is at RM7 and it comes with rice, 4 types of vegetables, salad, kara kuzambhu, rasam, appalam and pickles. Look out for the specials on certain days when keerai chaaru, tofu samba and fried cauliflower are served.
The curries in Chettinad Palace are divine, especially their Yesterday’s Fish Curry (pahzaya meen khuzambu). Yes they have that and then there’s the Today’s Fish Curry. Apparently the former is more popular and I can understand why as fish curry left overnight tastes much nicer when the spices have kinda “matured” and penetrated the fish and gravy. Fish curry is at RM5 per single portion.
Today’s Fish Curry
Weekends are the best times to visit, I feel… as there are more special dishes offered then. Various types of varuvals will be made available like kampung chicken, crabs, lamb, turkey and even venison. I can’t wait to go back for their Fish Head Curry! Mutton and crab varuval go for RM10 per portion while so tong varuval is at RM5 per single portion.
Fried Chicken and Fried Tenggiri
Shall we feast now?
Every Sunday is Briyani Day, Chettinad-style. Choices available are chicken, mutton and vegetarian. Chicken Briyani is RM10.
At the moment, Chettinad Palace is open for breakfast and lunch daily only. So who’s up for a fabulous Banana Leaf Lunch this weekend?
My Banana Leaf Rice in full splendour!
AT-00-05 BLK AT, Subang Perdana PH6
Goodyear Court 10
(Flats opposite Supercourts)
Junction of Persiaran Mulia & Jalan Subang 7
Opens from 7.00am-3.00pm