Sunday, July 27, 2014



Chettinad food is considered to be one of the most spicy and aromatic amongst the very many different cuisines in India. This part of Tamilnadu in the South of India makes use of a variety of spices in their daily food. Chicken Chettinad, for example, is a very famous dish as are many other non-vegetarian dishes from this region.

I was therefore particularly pleased to find from my friend Roopa Suraj, a recipe for Paneer Chettinad. This has all the spices associated with a typical Chettinad dish but has cottage cheese (paneer) as the main ingredient.

  • Paneer, (Cottage Cheese), 200 gms, cut into 1 and 1/2 " pieces and fried till golden
  • Poppy seeds, 1 tbsp.
  • Cashewnuts, 2 tbsp.
  • Oil, 4 tbsp.
  • Large Onion, chopped, 1
  • Tomatoes, chopped, 2
  • Curry Leaves, 10-12
  • Salt, to taste
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/2 tsp
  • Chilly Powder, 1 tsp
  • Ginger, 1 " piece
  • Garlic, 10 flakes
  • Lemon Juice, 1 tbsp.
  • Coriander leaves, chopped, for garnishing
  • Freshly ground Pepper, for garnishing
For Chettinad Masala ( to be Roasted and Ground)
  • Freshly ground Coconut, 1/2 cup
  • Coriander Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon, 1 " piece
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Fennel Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Dry Red Chillies,3
  • Seeds of 3 Green Cardamoms
  • Cloves, 2-3

Saok cashew and poppy seeds in warm water for 15 minutes
Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a kadhai
Add all the ingredients of the Chettinad Masala and fry till fragrant and golden
Drain the cashew and poppy seeds
Grind with fried masala, ginger, and garlic to a smooth paste with enough water
Heat oil in kadhai. Add chopped onions and fry till golden
Add ground paste and curry leaves. Saute for a while
Add chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric and chilly powder
Cook till tomatoes are well-blended
Add lemon juice and 1 and 1/2 cups of water
Bring to a boil
Add fried paneer and boil again
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and freshly ground pepper.


If you have liked this recipe, I would appreciate your leaving a comment. Thank you !