Madurai is the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, known for its contribution towards the development of Tamil language during ancient times. The city still lives with pure traditional values. Along with the slang, attire and other cultural uniqueness, it also thrives with mouth watering dishes.
Madurai residents are mostly non-veg lovers and their food is spicier when compared with other districts of Tamil Nadu. When people from Madurai migrate to other districts in terms of occupations, their unique recipes also travel along with them. This is how Madurai jigarthanda, Madurai idly and a lot more unique food became famous all over Tamil Nadu.
1. Kari Dosai
Kari dosai is an authentic Madurai dish famous for its aroma and taste. It is actually a type of “oothappam”, also known as “kal dosai”. It differs from normal dosai in its size and thickness. Kari dosai is thicker than the normal dosai and it has stuffed mutton pieces (In Tamil, kari means meat).
Meat is minced into small pieces and cooked with onions, tomato, chilli, ginger and garlic. Dosa batter is spread on the pan in thick medium size circle and beaten eggs are slowly spread over it. Oil is poured over sides and the cooked mutton kheema is spread over the dosa. After cooking one side, dosa is turned to cook on the other side. It is then served with chutney.
2. Kola urundai
Yet another spicy non vegetarian treat is the famous Madurai mutton kola urundai. This is mostly served as a snack. Boneless mutton pieces are ground in a mixer or blender and then cooked with onions, ginger, garlic, chillies, coriander and spices. The cooked mutton is simmered in low flame to dry out water and left to cool down.
It is then made into small meat balls and fried in oil. This meat ball fry is one of the famous iconic dishes of Madurai. The spices used and the low-flame cooking method gives a wonderful taste. Visitors to Madurai must try definitely and it will become a big favourite of any non-veg lover.
3. Madurai muttai idly
Madurai is famous for Jasmine flowers, which is called as Madurai Malli in Tamil. The same goes with idly, as Madurai special idly is paralleled with the soft petals of the city’s jasmine. Idly is the staple breakfast of south Indians which is a steam cooked food made with rice and urad dal batter. Though idly is common in all parts of Tamil Nadu, Madurai people took a bold decision to bring non-vegetarian ingredient into idly also!
Let us taste a bit of Madurai muttai idly which is a mix of idly-egg scramble. Onions are fried on a hot pan along with chillies (or capsicum), tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices. Eggs are poured into the mixture and small pieces of cooked idly are scrambled into it. Eggs and idly pieces are well scrambled for few minutes until they are cooked well.
The delicious mix is then served by sprinkling pepper powder on top. In a Madurai kitchen, if Idly made for dinner remains, then it gets recycled as muttai idly for the next day’s breakfast.
Kalakki is one of the many different versions of egg fry. In some parts of Madurai, it is called as vazhiyal. It is also known by other names such as tikka, ding dong etc. So if you come across any one of these strange names in a Tamil hotel’s menu list, know that it is just a spicy omelette variety, mostly served at the end of the meal.
Egg is beaten well along with salt and pepper. Mutton gravy is poured into it and poured on a hot pan. It is not turned to opposite side like other omelette varieties. As mutton gravy is added, it becomes extremely soft. It is just folded and served hot and spicy.
This is mostly served in street corner food stalls, and small restaurants. As parotta is default in these food corners, they usually prepare a gravy for side dish. This gravy is then used to make spicy Kalakki, which completes any fast food feast.
There are preferences for every people living in different regions. Madurai people love spicy food and non-vegetarian dishes top their menu list. Above mentioned are just a few to pick and there are a lot more to explore around the eateries of Madurai.