September 8, 2010

Chettiar cuisine....Karaikudi Restaurant

The Chettiars are Hindus predominantly originating in the Chetinnad region of Tamil Nadu. In the 19th Century Chettiars migrated to countries throughout South East Asia. There are both Tamil speaking and Telugu speaking Chettiars. They are very famous for their artistic houses and tasty cuisine. (source from Alright, I admit I didn't anything or rather there is such a thing as Chettiar cuisine till my visit here to Karaikudi. I read about it here in the poster hung on the wall. So now you know chettiars are not only known 'for' money but food as well Indian food that is.Karaikudi Restaurant is air-conditioned and clean. Brightly lit though not in every corner. I love the plaster ceiling. The tables and chairs are very simple and the important thing, comfortable.The menu here is very extensive. In fact there were too many to choose from we decided to settle for the normal (I mean what is known to us). On hubby's insistence both BB and I agreed to try a different kind of vegetable instead of the normal cabbage fried with tumeric. Hubby ordered the palak paneer (rm9.50). I didn't like what I saw when it arrived. This dish is made of spinach, paneer cheese in curry sauce. Of course I didn't know what the dish was all about till I got home and googled it. To me it looks gooey but the taste took me by surprise. It didn't taste as bad as it looked. BB made no comments but hubby didn't like it at all. It is spinach with cheese but I didn't taste spinach at all except it being a bit spicy and cheesy.
The tandoori chicken (rm11) is good as it is well seasoned. We had a double order as BB preferred to have a whole lot to himself. The one thing I noticed is the chicken is fresh and not dry as in grilled or cooked more than once.
You can find many different types of naan here. On the waiter's recommendation we decided to try the cheese naan (rm6). Oh my, it is so Western. All of us agreed. Take a bite into the naan, taste and are eating pizza Indian style. You got to try this naan. The taste is really something, it is good! All 3 of us really enjoyed eating the cheese naan with the tandoori chicken dribbled with a little curry. Awesome.
The onion naan (rm6) is good too. I think it is the way the naan is made. Unlike some other restaurants where the naan is rubbery and you need real strong teeth to take a bite, Karaikudi's naan are different. They are crispy but not dry and the onions were not overdone. You can still get the onion taste and smell as you chewed into a piece.
The Mutton Briyani (rm11.50) ...This is a must have at this restaurant. The mutton briyani is really out of this world and I would say full of oomph! The rice is grainy but cooked and full of flavour with the different kind of herbs and spices. The mutton is oh so tender and just flakes off the bone. The meat is so full of it's simply delicious. Do not be deceived by the little container it is served in. It is packed tight and filled to the brim. So do be careful that when you take a scoop at it. You really do not want to waste such good food by feeding the table. Yupz, that was the mistake I made. I think the aroma of it made me act silly diving my spoon so quickly into the 'nasi'.The amount of mutton found at the bottom of the briyani is a lot for the price you pay. Many pieces to be shared by two. Of course if you are a big eater then one bowl will be just fine. For hubby and me, we shared an order as we have the chicken and the naan to add on. If you like chicken like we do then I would say you do not give Karaikudi's Chicken Roast (rm9.50) a miss. The chicken is wholesome in taste and flavour. It is one good chicken roast you will not regret eating. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken and eat it with the onions that come with it and enjoy the full flavour. Oh dear, I'm salivating writing about this chicken roast.
When you are about to finish your meal, place your order for this dessert.... Sizzling Brownie. Did the 3 of us enjoy our meal? Yes, we enjoyed it tremendously and the meal was wonderful but we are not about to leave till the last one. Dessert!
I have not come across this dessert called the Sizzling Brownie (rm10) and was told by the waiter (I think he is the Manager) that this is the speciality of Karaikudi. Remember to order as you are about to finish your meal as the preparation time takes a while.
Sizzling Brownie is brownie served on a hot plate with ice-cream on top. The brownie is very rich and moist not from the ice cream but in itself. A different way of eating brownie and it is simply delicious and something extra ordinary. When you are eating it do be careful of the hot plate as it is really hot. Also, eat fast not that the ice cream will melt (obviously it will) but because the brownie will burn and it will be a waste to eat burnt brownie when it is moist and soft. Have a hearty meal!
Karaikudi Restaurant located @ No: 20 Market Street, Penang
Tel : 04-2631359/04-2631345 **5% Service charge.

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