Monday, November 17, 2014

Chettinad Chicken Curry

Chettinad Chicken curry is hot, aromatic and pungent with fresh ground masala. I start drooling from the start when I know this is the dish cooking for lunch/dinner, can’t wait to eat. Let me take a tour to familiarize its origin and brief introduction to this awesome cuisine. Chettinad is a place in South Indian belongs to state of Tamilnadu. They use variety of spices for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food that make it so aromatic and flavorful. Most of their dishes are accompanied with rice or rice based idlis, appams,dosas. First time I tasted this dish I wondered how beautiful it is and it didn’t take me much time to fall in love with presentation. It was garnished with curry leaves which I never found comfortable for non-vegetarian food till then but it’s all different now. I agree my perception was wrong. Fennel seeds and curry leaves gives this dish a unique taste. Here I go with recipe,


  • 750 gram Chicken, Cut into cubes (about 1 ½ inch size each)
  • 6-7 small onions
  • 1 medium size tomato, finely chopped
  • Water

For dry roast
  • 2 tsp Coriander seeds
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut (50 gm)
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 dried red chilies
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 twigs curry leaves

For marinating
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ginger garlic paste (1:1)


Step 1: Dry roast all ingredients mentioned under the head ‘dry roast’ with 2 small onions for a minute or until you smell the aroma and turn off and allow it to cool.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl mix chicken with all ingredients of marinade and keep aside for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Take rest of the onions, chop them and keep aside. In a mixer or blender grind the roasted ingredients with water to fine paste. Don’t make it runny let it be thick.

Step 4: Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, add chopped onions sauté for a minute and add chopped tomato. Saute till it softens. Add ground paste to this and sauté for a minute. Add marinated chicken with marinade and sauté for two to three minutes.

Step 5: Add 2 to 3 cups water and add required salt, remember salt is once already used in marinade. Give a quick stir and cover the lid. Cook for 6 minutes or until chicken is done in medium flame stir occasionally to ensure it doesn’t get burnt. Open the lid and add curry leaves and cook to get desired consistency of gravy.

  • Serve hot with rice/Appam/roti
  • As I always say spices can be adjusted based on your spice level. Here it is suggested to cut down on chili powder than the chillies.
  • Authentic version of this uses ghee (clarified butter) instead of oil and the whole small onions are used without being cut. They sprinkle few more fennel seeds at the end.

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