Two Karaikudi-based cooks bring authentic flavours of Chettinad to Kochi

Jose Joy Published :  20th April 2018 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  20th April 2018 06:00 AM

Bala and Ganeshan at Casino

Chettinad chicken is one omnipresent dish that can be spotted on random restaurant menus. These spiced-up abominations are what shape up our idea of this Tamil Nadu-based cuisine. We make sure that this is not what we’re in for before we head to Willingdon Island’s Casino Hotel. Rather, the treat this time around is as authentic as it gets at their Chettinad Food Fest.

Instead of experienced chefs, the property ropes in two famed local cooks, Ganeshan A and R Balamurugan, from Karaikudi to whip up some native delicacies for dinner at their Tharavadu restaurant. “I’ve been cooking for the past 25 years and have fed crowds as big as the one at Dindigal Kumbhabhishekam, which would be around 80,000 people,” says Ganeshan, who has worked in ex-Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa’s kitchen. 

Flavoursome affair
Using the word ‘spicy’ to describe the duo’s pepper chicken masala wouldn’t be completely out of place, but only if used in the sense that it’s rich and aromatic. The thick gravied dish is sprinkled with pepper and has a strong element of coriander but is surprisingly not fiery. “The menu will include six non-vegetarian and an equal number of vegetarian options every day. We’re also incorporating native welcome drinks like jaljeera and speciality desserts like paal paniyaram,” says F&B manager Shakar J S.

Ganeshan himself says that his must-try would be mutton uppu varuval, but we’re served an eeral masala instead. Best paired with rice and vazhathandu poriyal (banana stem with green chillis and grated coconut), the tomato-infused curry would interest any liver dish enthusiasts. Though it seemed a little dry at first glance, their dessert preparation ukkara is not excessively sweet, which urges me to go back for another helping.

Till April 21