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Thali Menu #149 – Chettinad Thali

19 Nov, 2019

About Chettinad Cuisine

Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine of a community called the Nattukotai Chettiars, or Nagarathars as they call themselves, from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu state in South India.

Chettinad cuisine is perhaps the most renowned fare in the Tamil Nadu repertoire. It uses a variety of spices and the dishes are made with fresh ground masalas. Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice-based accompaniments.

This weekend, relish the exotic flavours of authentic Chettinad cuisine.

Recipe of the week

Fodniche Varan

Maharashtrian style tempered dal

For pressure cooking:

  • ½ cup Toor dal or split pigeon peas
  • 1 ½ cups Water
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder

For varan:

  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Jaggery

For tempering:

  • 2 teaspoon Ghee
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • a pinch Asafoetida

Pressure cooking the Dal

  1. Wash Toor dal under running cold water till water runs clear.
  2. Soak the dal in enough water for at least 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, discard soaking water.
  4. Add dal to the pressure cooker with 1 ½ cups of water and turmeric powder.
  5. Close the lid, put the weight on and cook it on medium heat for 3-4 whistles, open the lid once the pressure is released.
  6. Mash or hand blend the dal till smooth.

Making Varan

  1. Add salt and jaggery to the dal. The dal needs to be thin consistency but not too watery, add water to get the desired consistency.
  2. Turn the heat to medium and bring the dal to a simmer.
  3. Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Making the tempering

  1. Heat the ghee or oil in a small frying pan.
  2. Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
  3. As seeds sizzle, turn off the stove, wait for a few seconds.

  4. Then add red chilli powder and asafoetida.

  5. Immediately add the tempering to the dal. Stir well.

  6. Serve hot with steamed rice.