If talking about Great Indian food in Penang, So far I have tried Kapitan, Passion of Karala, Woodlands and even Sri Ananda Bahwah. However, I was not considered as a fully qualified Indian food taster, at least not before this post. There are a lot of questions on what is the difference between North and South Indian food and also the Chettinadu Cuisine.
For the North Indian food, there is absolutely no dearth of it. The Nothern region in India is the hub of some of the world’s most exotic styles of cooking. Many of which are renowned all over the world and regarded as the most developed and refined of all culinary arts. They added a touch of royalty to the food and produced mouth watering taste with the generous use of spices, sausages, dry-fruits and butter. Roasted in tandoors, the meat dishes taste out of this world.
Other than that, the food from South India is usually spicy and hot. Coconut, tamarind and asafoetida goes as a ritual in most vegetarian dishes. Dishes are tempered with a fabulous concoction of mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves, urad dal and oil. Coconut oil is used as the medium of cooking in most parts of this zone.
Whereas for Chettinadu Cuisine, the rest of this post will explain in more details. The place of my visit for this time is Karaikudi Restaurant. The location of this restaurant is at the market street. The particular restaurant not only provides delicious North and South Indian food but also the great Cuisine from Chettinadu. The main attraction of this place is they emphasize on spices on the food rather than the usual spiciness that are commonly served. Again, thanks to PenangTuaPui for arranging this exclusive review.
To start off the hot and spicy journey, Mango Lassi (RM4.00). This mango flavored yogurt is a brilliant option for mango lovers. It is very thick and tasty. This drink is very nice to take but the chill does not last long, else it will be excellent.
Vegetable Soup (RM3.00). Delicious Spiced Vegetable Soup, the soup is cooked in Chettinad Style. Served in Indian antique bowl and spoon. Slightly creamy and not too salty, full of vegetable taste. Cooked with cauliflower and french beans, not too oily and spicy.
Bitter Gourd Chips (RM6.00). Sliced bitter gourd marinated with spices and deep fried. The chips are crunchy and the cut of the bitter gourds are very even. All the slices are in the same size. This dish is best served when it is hot.
Squid Fry (RM8.00). Squid fish dipped in spicy batter and are deep fried. The feel of the texture is crunchiness on the outside and soft in the inside.
Chicken Cutlet (RM6.00). Boneless pieces of chicken marinated with egg & bread crumbs and deep fried. The chicken is marinated with turmeric and it really mixes well with the chicken cutlet.
Kadai Vegetable (RM9.00) Assorted vegetable cooked in rich gravy. This dish is not too spicy and the smell of spices really blended well. It is specially dedicated to people who dislike spiceness.
Chicken Briyani (RM9.50). Tender pieces of chicken are cooked with basmathi rice and spices. The way this dish is served in a very special way where the chicken drumstick is covered up by the rice while there is an cooked eg laid on top. Overall, the rice and the curry are well prepareed. However to my personal taste I prefer it to be served with raita, which could be more appetising. As for the marinated chicken, I personally feel that there is still room for improvement as compared to Kapitan at Lebuh Chulia.
Kashmiri Naan (RM6.00). Topped with cherry and stuffed with dessicated coconut and cashew nuts in naan. This dish is very special as usually the naan will only have topping on the outer layer, but this has been stuffed with dessicated coconut and cashew nuts. It is very crunchy and it tastes great with curry chicken.
Ladies Finger Pepper Fry (RM7.00). Sliced ladies finger deep fried and sauteed with pounded black pepper. This is one of my favourite and I have made additional orders of it as I just couldn’t have enough. I find the way they prepare this dish is very nice, the portion of pepper is not too much, the ladies finger is sweet and juicy. Is a recommended for veggie lovesr.
Mutton Chukka Varuval (RM18.00). Diced mutton sauteed with Chettinad spices. The tenderness of the mutton is soft and there is no usual “mutton” smell. Personally, I find it a bit too spicy for me as the chili is too strong. For those who love spicy food this is a must try.
Chicken Kothu Paratha (RM9.00). The chicken is cut into cubes, marinated and cooked in curry. The bite of the chicken cube is very juicy while the spiciness level is moderate. It is a perfect combination with Kashmiri Naan.
Egg Podimas (RM4.00). Scrambled egg cooked with onions, salt and pepper. This is the Indian style of scrambled egg. The taste of the papper for this dish is a bit too strong which has covered up other spices and ingredients that served together in this dish.
Chettinad Potato Masala (RM6.00). Cubes of potato are sauteed with special masala. The name of this dish is Masala, is not “Masalah” (means Problem in Malay). However, according to the owner of this restaurant, after taking this dish, the problem will be taken away as well. I like the sweet and sour of the tomatoes which are mixed together with the soft and fragrant potatoes.
Chettinad Special Dosai (RM4.00). Dosai that topped with beetroots, onions, mashed cabbage, coriander and served with tomato puree with chili and plain chatney. The presentation of this dish is very colorful, it is the happy meal in this restaurant due to its worderful color layout.
Sizzling Brownie (RM10). Freshly baked chocolate brownie with a scoop of vanila ice cream topped with chocolate fudge and cashew nuts served on a hot sizzling plate. This is a unique dish and it is created by the lady boss of exclusively for this restaurant and it will not be available elsewhere. This has the combination of both extreme blistering and blizzard. Caution, consume this dish with care as this might cause burns to your tongue. The video below proves that it’s really blowing.
Chettinad Filter Coffee (RM2.80). Fresh coffee bean powder steamed with boiled water and fresh milk. This is also one of my favourites. A satisfying meal that ends with a smooth cow milk coffee is always a pleasant ending. An alternative to coffee would be the Masala Tea (RM3.00) which has different flavours of clove, star anise, cinemmon bark and cardamon. But for those who can take coffee, the Chettinad Filter Coffee would be the better choice.
Overall, most of the food at Karaikudi are good, and I will definitely make another visit to this place. At least now I know what to order when I visit to Indian restaurant next time.
Editor’s Review (5 Stars Rank):
Address: No, 20 Market Street, 10200 Penang.
Opening Hours: 11.00am-11.00pm (Daily, Close on Depavali)
Contact: 04-263 1345/ 263 1359
GPS: N05″ 24.994′, E100″ 20.424′
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