Chicken Chettinad

Today’s post is a much awaited recipe that I have been thinking of trying for a very long time. But considering the varied ingredients which were not available always at any given point of time in my kitchen, I had kept it aside all this while. Actually I have very limited exposure to the way non-veg is cooked in South India and I really wasn’t sure if I wanted the long list of ingredients into my chicken which tastes so awesome even in its simplest form. So last weekend when I had the chance to try this dish in an Indian restaurant I realised I wanted to give it a shot. Fortunately I had all the required additives just waiting to be used desperately as well as a recipe at hand waiting to be tested and uploaded in my almost dormant blog. This too, along with many others, is the reason I have started blogging again after such a long break. Anyways, Chettinad recipes, though now available everywhere, originally is a South Indian (from Tamil Nadu mainly) cuisine and is usually very hot, spicy and flavorful. And not to mention a delightful change from the usual chicken preparations. If you are a spice lover, go ahead and try this and don’t forget to add extra hotness/heat to it if you want.


For Masala:

  • Poppy seeds – 3 tsp
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Cardamom – 3-4
  • Cloves – 2
  • Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Grated coconut or Coconut powder – 4 tbsp
  • Chicken – 800 gms
  • Onions – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
  • Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves – 8-10 (add extra if desired)
  • Red Chilli powder or green chillies – to taste (I used 5-6 hot green chillies finely chopped for extra spice)
  • Tomatoes – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Lime juice – a few drops (optional)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Water – as per desired consistency
  • Cilantro – to garnish


  • Heat a pan and add 1 tsp oil, once hot add the masala ingredients for grinding i.e. – poppy seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and grated coconut.
  • Keep stirring a couple of minutes till the seeds change color. If using grated coconut stir till the coconut looks dry and changes color. Transfer to a bowl and let the masala cool.
  • Once cooled grind it to a smooth paste. You can either grind it along with the ginger and garlic or you can mix the ginger garlic paste with the ground masala at this stage and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan or wok.
  • Add the finely chopped onions and fry them with little salt. Cook till they turn translucent.
  • Add turmeric powder, chopped green chillies, curry leaves, ginger garlic paste, ground masala paste and mix with 2-3 drops of water. Mix well and cook for minute or two.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till oil starts separating.
  • Add the chicken and mix thoroughly till the chicken pieces are coated with the spices.
  • Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring in between.
  • Add little water or as required as per the desired consistency of the gravy.
  • Mix and let it cook covered till the chicken is done and the gravy is of desired consistency.
  • Add a few drops of lime juice if required and mix.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Server hot with roti or naan or even rice.


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