Crowne Plaza, Gurgaon hosted a week long “Chettinad Food Festival” where I happened to go with a bunch of bloggers who are just as into South Indian food as I am. Chefs from Dakshin, Chennai were doing all the cooking for the festival so we knew that everything was 100% authentic. The spices had been toned down a little to suit the taste of the expat crowd that this hotel gets but I didn’t mind that at all. The flavours were marvellous and the setting of rangoli, spices and yellow napkins was ‘inspired’.
For those of you who didn’t know, 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.
At the entrance I could see an array of fragrant spices like anasipoo (star aniseed), kalpasi (a lichen known as the “black stone flower” or Patthar Ke Phool, also known as dagad phool), tamarind, whole red chillies, sombu (fennel seed), pattai (cinnamon), lvangam (cloves), bay leaf, karu milagu (peppercorn), jeeragam (cumin seeds), and venthayam (also called mendhiyam) (fenugreek). The servers were dressed in traditional attire and showed us around to explain to us what all was on offer at Cafe G where the festival was being held.
The “appam” looked extremely appetising but I couldn’t try it and I know I will be going back for it for sure. The meats had been cooked beautifully. The “Lamb Chops” (kari chops masala) was very flavourful. The subtle spices made it extremely moreish.
A whole bunch of kebabs were served to us with our drinks. The chicken was juicy and succulent and the mutton was perfectly flavoured. The “Chicken Chettinad”(kozi uppakari) went extremely well with “Thengal Pal Sadam” (aromatic rice with coconut milk and caramelized onions) and “Avial”.
The festival went on till the 20th of March and I would look out for more such festivals and treats Crowne Plaza has to offer if I were you!