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3 Delicious Chettinad Recipes With Star Anise 1
One of my most satisfying meals during my last trip to the Vietnamese Capital – Hanoi, was a Pho Tai Nam with meat brisket at Pho Gia Truyen, an iconic local eatery. Arguably Vietnam’s most popular soup, this flavoursome broth is also the country’s most mispronounced (‘fuh’ is the accurate pronunciation). This broth has its origins in Northern Vietnam – near Hanoi and went global in the 20th century along with the Vietnamese refugees. The broth is usually simmered with meat bones and spices and features noodles, meat or chicken and herbs.  One of the key spices in this broth is star anise. Also read: 5 Chettinad Curries That’ll Give You The Taste Of Tamil Nadu At HomeStar anise is a key ingredient in Galliano, a legendary Italian liqueur and also one of the spices that adds a unique twist to Chettinad cuisine in Tamil Nadu. The Nattukottai Chettiars who hail from the Chettinad region that is spread between the Pudukottai and Ramanathapuram districts in Tamil Nadu’s southern half forged trading links across Asia in the 19th century. Star aniseed and black rice (once known as forbidden rice in China because it was reserved only for the nobility) are some of the ingredients that are unique to this cuisine. Over the years Chettinad cuisine has been misrepresented in cities like Chennai and Bengaluru with an emphasis on high spice levels rather than flavours. Chettinad cuisine is more about the interplay between spices rather than just gravies dunked with chilli powder or spicy masalas.  Photo Credit: iStockThere’s no better way to experience Chettinad cuisine than head to towns like Karaikudi and check out some of the region’s authentic dining experiences. Vaadhyar’s House in Kannadukathan is one such option. The Park Hotel has reimagined one of these heritage homes that the locals called Vaadhyar’s House (teacher’s house; this has been home to generations of teachers). This cafe blends a contemporary vibe with a flavour of traditional Chettinad architecture. It’s the same with the menu that features International cuisine. But it’s the local flavours that shine here. Star aniseed is one of the hero ingredients in some of their dishes. You can try these recipes at home:  1. Karaikudi Mutton Kuzhambu Recipe Courtesy – Vaadhyar’s House Ingredients:Mutton – 1 kg Shallots peeled – 150 gm Onions chopped – 150 gm Tomato chopped – 250 gm Coconut grated – 100 gm Ginger paste – 75 gm Garlic paste – 75 gm Curry leaf – 20 gm Coriander whole – 20 gm Cumin seed – 10 gm Fennel seed – 5 gm Star anise – 10 gm Black peppercorns – 10 gm Dry chilli – 8 nos Poppy seeds – 10 gm Green cardamom – 10 gm Cloves – 5 gm Cinnamon stick – 5 gm Bay leaf – 5 nos Refined oil – 150 ml Turmeric powder – 5 gm Chilli powder – 10 gm Salt – 15 gm Method:  Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel, black pepper and dry red chilli. Cool them and grind to a fine powder. Soak the poppy seeds for 30-40 minutes.  Drain the water, mix with grated coconut and grind to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a kadai; add bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise. Once the spices start crackling, add the curry leaves. Add shallots, chopped onion and fry them until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 2 minutes. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, a pinch of salt and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the roasted spice powder, mutton and cook on high heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining salt, water, cook on medium heat until the mutton is tender. Stir occasionally in between and add water as necessary. Add the coconut and poppy seed paste, cook for 3-5 minutes, and take off the flame. 2. Madurai Mutton Biryani Recipe Courtesy – Vaadhyar’s House Ingredients:Mutton – 1 kg Onion sliced – 300 gm Tomato chopped – 250 gm Ginger – 100 gm Garlic – 75 gm Green chilli slit in half – 6 nos Coriander chopped – 500 gm Mint leaves chopped – 500 gm Lemon – 1 nos Coconut milk – 50 ml Jeera samba rice – 1 kg Refined oil – 200 ml Ghee – 50 gm Green cardamom – 10 gm Cloves – 5 gm Cinnamon stick – 10 gm Star anise – 5 gm Fennel seed – 5 gm Chilli powder – 10 gm Turmeric – 5 gm Salt – 25 gm Water – 1 litre Method:Wash and soak the rice for 20-30 minutes. Drain and keep aside. Heat oil and ghee in a kadhai; add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, star anise and fennel seed. Add sliced onion, green chilli and cook them until onions are golden brown in colour. Add ginger and garlic paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, coriander, mint and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the mutton, salt and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. Add the coconut milk and stir to mix. Add the rice, water and cook for 10 minutes. Cover the edges of the pan with a rolled wet cloth and close the pan with a lid. Place a bowl or pan filled with water over the lid to ensure a firm seal. Cook on dum for 20 minutes and take off the flame. Open the lid and break the rice gently starting from the sides and mix lightly.  3. Chettinad ChickenRecipe Courtesy – Vaadhyar’s House Ingredients:Spice mix Green cardamom – 5 gm Cinnamon sticks – 5 gm Cloves – 2 gm Star anise – 2 gm Kapok buds (Marathi moggu) – 2 gm Stone flower (kalpasi) – 3 gm Mace (javitri) – 2 gm Nutmeg – 2 gm Poppy seed – 5 gm Coriander whole – 10 gm Cumin seed – 5 gm Black peppercorn – 3 gm Dry red chilli – 5 nos For the gravy: Chicken – 1 kg Onion – 250 gm Tomato – 200 gm Ginger paste – 100 gm Garlic paste – 75 gm Curry leaf – 10 gm Refined oil – 200 ml Turmeric powder – 3 gm Chilli powder – 5 gm Coriander powder – 10 gm Coconut grated – 50 gm Salt – 15 gm Method: For the spice mix, dry roast the spices and cool them down. Grind to a fine powder. Grind the grated coconut with a little water to a smooth paste.  Heat oil in a kadhai, add the sliced onion and fry until golden brown. Add ginger and garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder; cook for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken, curry leaves and Chettinad spice mix and cook on high heat for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add water, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add coconut paste, cook for 2 minutes and take off the flame. Featured Video Of The DayChilli Garlic Paratha Recipe | How To Make Chilli Garlic ParathaAbout Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie – a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.

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