Flavorsome Delicacies of Karaikudi

Karaikudi and the surrounding areas are reckoned to be the place of origin of the legendary Chettinad cuisine. One of the integral parts of the tastiest Tamil cuisine, Chettinad cuisine is celebrated all over the world for its aroma, spiciness and most of all, the taste that distinguishes the cuisine from the rest of the regional cuisines of India. As a matter of fact, Chettinad cuisine is considered as the most redolent and most piquant culinary art in the country.

Must Read: Chettinad Cuisine

Furthermore, Chettinad cuisine is far-famed for its lavish use of a wide range of spices and freshly made masalas used in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Much said, let's get to know some of the most popular, mouth-watering, delectable, toothsome and flavorsome delicacies of Karaikudi.

Also Read: Food in Karaikudi

Kuzhi Paniyaram

Category: Vegetarian
Variant: Spicy
Type of Food: Breakfast dish
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Must-have Cookware: Kuzhi paniyaram pan

Kuzhi Paniyaram

A traditional and classic vegetarian dish from the widely known and esteemed Chettinad Cuisine, Kuzhi Paniyaram is primarily consumed for breakfast. Nowadays, many Tamil restaurants in the state and from the neighboring states, serve Kuzhi Paniyaram as an evening snack. The delicacy is simple yet scrumptious and is prepared by steaming regular idli batter mixed with a few ingredients. An uncomplicated yet healthy dish, Kuzhi paniyaram is a favorite for people of all age groups. Some of the interesting variants in paniyaram include sweet paniyaram made with jaggery, pal paniyaram made with milk, rava paniyaram made with semolina, muttai paniyaram made with eggs and so on.


Regular idli batter (Idli maavu) - 2 cups
Finely chopped onion (podiyaga narukiya periya vengayam) - 1
Finely chopped green chilli (podiyaga narukiya patchai milagai) - 3 to 4
Curry leaves (karivepillai) - 1 sprig
Finely chopped coriander leaves
Finely chopped ginger (podiyaga narukiya inji) - 1 inch piece
Mustard seeds (kadugu) - 1 teaspoon
Urad dal (ulutham paruppu) - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 3 teaspoons
Salt - To taste

Method of Preparation:

Paniyaram Pan

  • Add 2 teaspoonful of oil in a pan and temper mustard seeds and urad dal
  • Wait till the urad dal turns golden brown and then add finely chopped onions, green chili, and ginger and curry leaves
  • Fry the onions briefly over high heat and add required salt
  • Add finely chopped coriander leaves and that is all!
  • Let the mixture cool for a while
  • Mix the sautéed mixture with the idly batter and here we go, our Kuzhi Paniyaram batter is ready, as simple as it is!
  • Now, it is time to steam the paniyarams, heat up the dedicated Kuzhi Paniyaram pan for a minute or so
  • Pour a few drops of oil in each of the hole and pour the required paniyaram batter
  • It is important to maintain a medium flame before closing the pan
  • Wait till the edges of the paniyarams become golden brown
  • Now it is time to turn over the paniyarams, use a spoon if not a small rod
  • Wait till the other side turns golden brown too; serve hot with tomato chutney and coconut chutney

Chettinad Crab Masala / Chettinad Nandu Masala

Chettinad Crab Masala
Many think that crab-based dishes are only for restaurants. Well, it is not the story that crab dishes can be easily prepared at home, provided you know the tricks and techniques. As a matter of fact, crab masala is such a fun recipe to make at home! Among the never ending list of non-vegetarian dishes, Chettinad crab masala, popularly called as Chettinad nandu masala is nothing short of a specialty and classic item. Let's find out the method of preparation of the delectable Chettinad Crab Masala / Chettinad Nandu Masala.


Crab/Nandu - 1 kg or 6 to 7 nos
Finely chopped onion (podiyaga narukiya periya vengayam) - 2
Finely chopped tomato (podiyaga narukiya thakkali) - 2
Ginger garlic paste (inji poondu vizhudhu) -1 teaspoonful
Coriander powder (Kothamalli Podi) - 1 tablespoonful
Red chili powder (milagai thool) -1 tablespoonful
Turmeric powder (manjal thool) -1 teaspoonful

To Grind:
Grated coconut (thuruviya thengai) - 3 tablespoonfuls
Fennel seeds (sombu) -1 teaspoonful
Poppy seeds (kasakassa) - 1 teaspoonful OR Cashews (mundhiri) - 5

To Season:
Cinnamon (pattai) - 3 small pieces
Clove (kirambu) - 2
Cardamom (elakkai) - 3
Curry leaves (karivepillai) - 1 sprig
Cumin seeds (jeeragam) -1 teaspoonful
Fennel seeds (sombu) -1 teaspoonful

Method of Preparation:
  • Clean the crabs and add half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of red chili powder and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, mix it well and keep it aside
  • Heat up the fry pan and add two tablespoons of oil
  • Prepare the masala by frying the items given under - 'To Season'
  • Add the chopped onions and saute for about 2 minutes, add the ginger garlic paste and saute the mixture till the raw smell of ginger garlic paste perishes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and saute till becomes a paste
  • Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and salt as required
  • Add some water and cover the fry pan with a lid and let it cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add the marinated crabs to the mixture in the pan and give it a nice mix
  • If the dish looks dry, add some more water and reach the consistency as per your taste
  • Cover the fry pan with a lid and let it cook for 5 to 7 more minutes
  • It is time to add the fresh ground masala and mix it well and cook it without covering the pan for another 2 to 4 minutes
  • In the end, garnish the spicy and aromatic crab masala with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot
Tips and Tricks:
  • Always remember that crab dishes should be prepared right away after cleaning since all the essence in the crab might exudate as the time passes
  • It is believed that crabs caught on and around 'no Moon' day are supposed to be fleshier and first-class in terms of quality

Chettinad Mutton Curry / Chettinad Mutton Kuzhambu

Chettinad Mutton Curry

Yet another scrumptious non-vegetarian Chettinad classic, Chettinad Mutton Curry is all about a wide range of spices, freshly ground masala, loads of flavour blended with delicately cooked mutton. A perfect accompaniment for idly, dosa, chapathi and rice.

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 mins


Mutton / Lamb - 1/2 kg
Chopped shallots (sambar vengayam/chinna vengayam) - 25 nos
Green chilli (patchai milagai) - 2
Curry leaves (karivepillai) - 2 sprigs
Ginger garlic paste (inji poondu vizhudhu) - 2 tablespoon
Finely chopped tomatoes (podiyaga narukiya thakkali) - 4
Turmeric powder (manjal thool) - 1 teaspoon
Finely chopped coriander leaves (malli thazhai) - Handful
Oil -  3 tablespoons
Water as required
Salt to taste

Required Spices:
Cinnamon (pattai) - 1 inch stick
Cardamom (elakkai) - 2 nos
Cloves (kirambu) - 3 nos
Fennel seeds (sombu) - 1 teaspoon

Making of Chettinad Special Spice Powder:
Dry red chilli (sigappu milagai) - 6 to 8
Coriander seeds (malli) - 4 tablespoon
Cinnamon (pattai) - 5 cm stick
Fennel seeds (sombu) - 1 tablespoon
Whole Peppercorns (milagu) - 1 tablespoon
Cumin Seeds / Jeerakam - 1 teaspoon
Cardamom (elakkai) -  5 nos
Star anise (natchatra sombu) - 1

For Coconut Masala:
Coconut - 1 cupful
Fennel seeds (sombu) - 1 tablespoon

Method of Preparation:
  • Grind fennel seeds and grated coconut with water to make it as a paste and keep it aside
  • In a fry pan, dry roast dry red chili, coriander seeds, cinnamon, fennel seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, cardamom and star anise and grind this mixture into a fine powder - the Chettinad Special Spice Powder is ready!
  • Add required oil in a fry pan and saute cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and fennel seeds
  • Add the following to the spice mixture in the fry pan - baby onions, green chilies and curry leaves
  • Add ginger garlic paste and saute for two more minutes and add turmeric powder and salt to taste
  • Now it is time for tomatoes followed by the Chettinad Special Spice Powder
  • Add in the nicely washed mutton and add some more water
  • Let the meat cook for some 20 minutes in medium flame
  • Add the coconut masala and stir the dish well, put a lid at this point and let it cook for 20 more minutes
  • Garnish the dish with coriander leaves and serve hot!
Some of the other popular delicacies of Chettinad include:

Chettinad Poondu Kuzhambu
Spicy Dry Lamb Curry
Chettinad Masala Kuzhambu
Ennai Urulai Kizhangu Varuval
Chettinad Masala Seeyam
Chettinad Mushroom
Chettinad Chicken Roast
Chettinad Fish Curry
Chettinad Chicken Curry
Chettinadu Thakkali Kulambu
Chettinad Mutton Chukka
Chettinad Egg Curry

Also Read:

Kariakudi Chicken Masala - In 5 Simple Steps
Restaurants in Karaikudi
Home Delivery in Karaikudi

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