The myriad culinary tradition of Chennai was mirrored in a platter at Madras Odyssey curated by meals historian Rakesh Ragunathan


Chennai isn’t just about idli-dosa and filter espresso. Madras Odyssey delves into its true culinary tradition, an amalgamation of multitude of cuisines from the world over

Chennai isn’t just about idli-dosa and filter espresso. Madras Odyssey delves into its true culinary tradition, an amalgamation of of cuisines from the world over

Everyone knows in regards to the historic connection Chennai had with the Armenians, the Jews and the Parsis, however have you ever heard of the dishes they launched town to. The listing consists of Potoler Dolma, sown kadi or Langanu custard. At Madras Odyssey, an occasion that highlighted the culinary legacy of Chennai, the place meals historian Rakesh Raghunathan and Biju Mathew, govt chef on the Westin Chennai, Velachery, spoke in regards to the affect of the a number of communities that lived on this port metropolis.

The Armenian Fish
| Picture Credit score: particular association

“The Armenians and Jews got here right here for commerce, we had the Anglo Indians and the Parsis who made Chennai their residence, the Gujarati, Rajasthani and the Sourashtra communities that settled right here and collectively these individuals have contributed to the culinary tradition of town,” says Rakesh, who has curated the menu for the pageant , to mark the Madras Day celebrations. The thali menu (each veg and non-veg) that the duo have put collectively begins with Mulligatawny Soup, an Anglo-Indian adaptation of the South Indian rasam. A gentle soup with a touch of onion, garlic, curry leaves and pepper, and thickened with rice flour, it was invented by the butlers through the colonial period. 

“The Armenian fish (Christmas particular within the properties of Armenians throughout the globe), and potoler dolma (pointed gourd filled with minced mutton or paneer and shallow-fried) within the thali, signify the Armenian connection,” says Rakesh, including, “Dolma, an Armenian dish, made by stuffing vine leaves with minced meat, bulgar wheat and condiments will get a makeover in India the place they tailored the dish to the regionally obtainable pointed gourd, which was parwal, filled with spiced minced meat. The dish has a Bengali affect however originated in Armenia and launched to India by them.” The pink perch (Sankara in Tamil) fish, is marinated with lemon juice, inexperienced chilli, minced bell peppers, garlic, pepper and salt, then wrapped in a foil and baked, lending the fish a delicate flavour.

Parsi green chutney bread

Parsi inexperienced chutney bread
| Picture Credit score: particular association

A shoutout to the Anglo-Indian neighborhood options cutlets. “Higher often called railway cutlets, these had been specifically made for the Britishers and the Anglo Indians within the Railway pantry vehicles,” says Rakesh. The Jewish-influenced sown kadi is a gentle and bland soupy gravy made utilizing rice flour blended with kokum extract and coconut milk. When the Parsi inexperienced chutney bread arrived in model, accompanied by the Parsi mutton gravy or salli boti (mutton cooked in a tomato and onion gravy with Indian spices and garnished with strips of fried potatoes), it took the centre stage for some time. We additionally had standard Parsi dishes such because the berry pulao (basmati rice cooked with berries, nuts and Indian spices), Amrood ni kari (dal-based curry with semi-ripe guavas) and kolmi a patio (prawn cooked in tangy tomato gravy). 

Sulli Boti

Sulli Boti
| Picture Credit score: particular association

Rakesh got here throughout many of those dishes whereas he was travelling throughout the State. He was launched to the Mullumurunga (Erythrina variegata) keera vadai in Madurai. “It’s a dish popularised by the Saurashtrian neighborhood that lived in Thanjavur,” says Rakesh. The vadai, which seems to be like puri, is mushy with a touch of inexperienced from the keera that’s floor along with soaked rice and spices. The following dish, pulusu pindi (rice flour cooked in tamarind water, salt and jaggery), was contributed by the Arya Vysya neighborhood that lived in giant numbers in Madras. Being merchants, they travelled and packed such dishes from residence on their enterprise journeys. 

Then there’s the Marwari neighborhood that launched us to chapati. The thaali additionally had illustration from the Marwari neighborhood within the type of dal bati churma (baked wheat balls dipped in ghee) and Gujarati dal (candy and tangy lentil cooked with greens and peanuts).

Lastly, as we waited for the dessert, questioning what it might be, we had been handled to a trio of Bun halwa, Jam roly-poly and Laganu custard. “Many of the tea outlets in our metropolis promote this iconic jam roly-poly, popularly often called jam roll. This can be a contribution from the Anglo Indians,”says chef Biju, including that the bun halwa is a basic Saurashtra dish and Laganu custard is a Parsi marriage ceremony speciality. “All of the objects within the thaali are additionally obtainable as la carteand a number of the objects that go properly with our patrons, will keep on the menu even after the pageant,” he provides.

The Madras Odyssey is on until August 31, dinner solely. For reservations and particulars, name: 6633 3777 



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