Saturday, March 19, 2016

Chettinad Food Festival at Cafe G

Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon celebrated the famed Chettinad Cuisine of South India over the last two weeks. The last two days are left and lovers of authentic South Indian flavours can still savour the fragrant and aromatic curries until tomorrow night at Café G, their coffee shop.
The hotel has a prolific track record as far as food promotions go, organising almost 2-3 per month. This time round we were welcomed with a fuchsia profusion at the entrance with marigold flowers adorning their salad bar chandelier area. It is amazing how they transform the look of the restaurant every time. In the seafood festival deep blue serviettes gave the appearance of sail boats deep in the sea. This time it was bright canary yellow serviettes with a rustic table appointment.


Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine of the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu state in South India. The Chettiar community, who are a majority in this region, are a very successful trading community. Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. Now let me clarify that when we say 'spice' it doesn't always mean hot or with lots of chilly but the aroma of freshly ground spices that actually help you savour food without unnecessary oil or cream or butter, items North Indian chefs often add to food to make it tasty.

Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. 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. The meat is restricted to fish, prawn, crab, chicken and lamb. Chettiars do not eat beef and pork.

Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice based accompaniments such as dosais, appams, idiyappams, adais and idlis. The Chettinad people through their mercantile contacts with Burma, learnt to prepare a type of rice pudding made with sticky red rice.

Chettinad cuisine offers a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Some of the popular vegetarian dishes include idiyappam, paniyaram, vellai paniyaram, karuppatti paniyaram, paal paniyaram, kuzhi paniyaram, kozhakattai, masala paniyaram,adikoozh, kandharappam, seeyam, masala seeyam, kavuni arisi & athirasam.

I personally liked their starters, a wonderful barbecued chicken with red marination and that raw spice taste that hits you instantly.

The appam with veg stew was truly flavorful and actually did not need anything else with it. The use of okra in a tangy curry(Kai Kari Mandi) is also I find appealing in south Indian cuisines as I am pretty bored of the north Indian Bhindi Do Piazas of the world!

In the non veg, the lamb chops (Kari Chops Masala)were highly recommended by everybody. But I personally loved the fish. It is the kind of fish curry fix every seafood lover craves for. Tangy, flavourful curry(Meen Koshambu) with some no-nonsense fish. You could have it with plain rice or this out of the world rice full of herbs called Karivepila Sadam.

For desserts a lentil payasam oozing with the goodness of jaggery found place of pride with the usual buffet fare of Café G which as it is sumptuous. All in all a wonderful meal with just the right balance of elements.

My Café G spicy, 'Chettinad' look of the day was inspired from the colour of their fuchsia promo invite. A fuchsia Lucknawi kurti I had bought at the Surajkund craft mela this year paired with my dependable San Francisco jeans and very very comfy blue Nine West pumps!










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