Southern Spice

Southern Spice

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37 Mahatma Gandhi Rd., Taj Coromandel Hotel, Chennai, 600034, India

Convince the chef of Taj Coromandel's restaurant, Southern Spice, to serve a thali surveying the range of Tamil cuisine. This he does over the course of a long and indulgent evening, which begins with motchaikottai soup, a vegetable broth flavored with lablab beans, and moves on to preparations like nandu koduku chettinadu, a dry-marinated crab claw cooked Chettiar style; broccoli and banana flower with lentils; another delicate dish made with a vegetable called lady's finger; quails fried and tossed in a spice mixture typical of coastal Cuddalore; and side dishes of sambar, rasam, and appam, paper-thin pancakes from a batter of fermented rice flour, prepared at the table by a sous-chef with the quick hands of a dealer in Vegas.

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