Chettinad is an area that covers the districts of Sivaganga and Pudukottai, located in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Chettinad is the homeland of the ancient merchant community Nattukottai Chettiars or Nagarathar, as they call themselves.
The word “chetti” is derived from the Sanskrit “shreshthi” meaning wealth. The Chettiars are known to be traders in salt and spices and this is reflected in the Chettinad cuisine. Because of the dry climate it is traditionally widespread the usage of freshly ground spices (anise, tamarind, kalbasi, red pepper, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, cumin, fenugreek), as well as sun-dried meat and salted vegetables.
According to the historical descriptions, The Chettiars were vegetarians, and their feasts at lifestyle ritual functions remain vegetarian. However, in the 18th century, trade ties with the Malabar coast, where mostly Christianity and Islam are spread, influenced the entrench of meat dishes among The Chettiars. It is worth noting, that most of the dishes are served with rice or flat bread made from rice flour or traditional rice dumplings called "idli". The championship in popularity among all the Chettinad cuisine dishes can easily be given to a curry variety of "Chicken Chettinad", which everyone may try in an Indian restaurant “Talk of the Town”.