Posted on | April 8, 2007 | 21 Comments |
Chettinad cuisine is originated in the southern parts of Tamil Nadu state comprising of Madurai, Tirunelveli and Karaikudi regions. This cuisine is well known for its hot and spicy, aromatic non vegetarian dishes like Chicken Chettinad, Pepper Chicken, Fish Varuval etc. Chettinad cuisine is so different from the traditional healthy vegetarian cuisine of the Tamil Brahmins, but when I think of Tamil cuisine, the first word that comes to my mind is Chettinad – just my type of dishes!
When I mentioned to Siv that there is an event called Regional Cuisine of India (RCI) and this month’s theme is Tamil cuisine, he volunteered to find me an authentic Chettinad recipe from his mom, and even better make it himself to keep it truly authentic. . After some brainstorming, he picked a dish called Uppukari, an authentic Karaikudi dish, that I have never heard of before.
Uppu means salt in Tamil and Kari is used to describe mutton or sometimes used as a generic term for meat. Uppu kari is prepared by marinating the cubed meat in salt for about an hour before cooking, the salt really softens the meat. I am assuming the name Uppukari came from this process. If anyone has a better explanation, I would love to hear it.
The heat in this dish comes from split dry red chilies, not chilly powder. That makes it truly unique, with a subtle spicy flavor, so different from all the Kerala lamb recipes I normally make. In our house, we both have our on signature dishes, I am the mutton expert and Siv is the fish curry guy. But after tasting this uppu kari, guess I’ll have to share my mutton throne with him, this was that good!
- 1 lb Lamb/Goat meat with bones cut into small cubes
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 cup sliced onions
- 10 cloves garlic minced
- 12 split dry red chilies
- 1″ cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup grated coconut or coconut flakes
- 1 bunch curry leaves
- Salt for taste
- oil for sauteing
Marinate the cubed meat with salt and keep aside for an hour.
Add the ginger paste to the meat and pressure cook till the meat is tender(about 7 minutes after the first whistle). Alternatively you can cook the meat and ginger mixture in a regular sauce pan along with a cup of hot water till the meat is tender and the gravy is completely dried up.
In the mean time, heat oil in a large frying pan, fry the cinnamon, fennel seeds and the split red chilies till fragrant and keep aside.
In the same pan, saute the onions and garlic till brown. Add the curry leaves and the fried spices from the previous step and mix well.
Check the cooked meat and dry most of the liquid that might have formed during the pressure cooking process.
Add the dry cooked mutton into the pan with the fried onion and spices and mix well till the remaining moisture is all dried up.
Add the grated coconut to the pan and fry till the coconut is slightly brown.
Serve hot with rice.
Note: Siv completely forgot the coconut when he made this, still it tasted great. He says coconut adds a great texture to the dish, but skip it if you are not a coconut fan, it is still delicious.
There is not that much information about Chettinadu cuisine in Wikipedia, but here is a link to what they have: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chettinad_cuisine
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