The extreme south of Tamil Nadu, the Coromandel Coast is the epicurean home for the Tamil Muslims. Intermingling of Arab traders and the local women during eight or ninth century resulted in formation of the population near these coastal towns like Kilakarai, Kayalpatnam etc. There are Kayartattnam or shepherds or men who used to trade on ships. This community is mostly sea faring community who relied on maritime trade, fishing and pearl diving as a source of income.
The cuisine of this region is influenced by Gulf Arab world, Sri Lanka, Maldives and the South east Asian archipelago. Fish powder and pandan leaves are brought to be believed from Maldives. A special mention in this cuisine is kanava karuvad (a specific variety of dried squids).
Other exquisite dishes of this region includes calamari deep fried with curry leaves and dry chillies, murunggai keerai (moringa spinach), puliyanam (chilled coconut milk based dish), maasi thuvayal (dried tuna and chanadal chutney). Idiyappam with meen anam (barracuda or seela mean fish curry) is a quintessential Tamil dish of this region.
Next time you visit Tamil Nadu explore beyond idli, vada and sambar. Instead savour each regional cuisine that boasts of unique cooking methods and spices. They have been backed with heirloom family recipes, ancient culture and traditions, community history and external influences.11 months ago
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