Chicken Chettinad

Chettinad Cuisine is from the region of Chettinad in Tamil Nadu, which is dominated by Chettiar community. Chettinad cuisine has gained popularity in non-Tamils speaking community as well. Chicken Chettinad is prepared by freshly grounded coconut with various other grounded spices. This fiery curry is one of the most popular dishes from region of South India. The recipe I have shared here is less spicy, but you can add more peppercorns while roasting spice to adjust the spiciness. It is best served with Dosas, Rice, Chapati.


For Gravy:

500 grams chicken

2 tbsp oil

1 large onion sliced

8-10 no curry leaves

1 large tomato

1 large bay leaf

1 tsp red chili powder

For Marination

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp red chili powder

1 tbsp yogurt

1tsp oil

1 tbsp ginger garlic paste

Salt to taste

Chettinad masala (Roasted and then Grinded)

1 tbsp Poppy Seeds or 8-10 cashews

½ cup grated coconut

1 tsp fennel seeds

5-6 peppercorns

3-4 dry red chilies

3-4 green cardamom pods

3-4 cloves

½ inch cinnamon pods

½ tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds



In a bowl mix yogurt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, oil and ginger garlic paste. Apply the marinade to chicken and refrigerate overnight or 8-10 hours.

Chettinad Spice:

On a low flame, dry roast red chilies and coriander seeds. When you can smell the aroma of cumin and red chilies add green cardamom, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cloves. Roast on low flame till you can smell the aroma.

Now add the poppy seeds and mix it quickly. Now add coconut and roast on low flame till the coconut is brown in colour. Cool down the roasted masala and then grind it and keep aside. In the same blender add tomatoes and make a puree, remove in a bowl and keep aside.


In a pan heat oil, add bay leaf and onions. Saute till the onions start turning brown. Add the marinated chicken and saute it for 5-10 minutes. Now add the tomato puree and let it cook till tomatoes are cooked.

Add salt, red chili powder. Add the grounded paste. Fry for 5 minutes and then add curry leaves. Add 1 cup water and let the chicken cook until it is done. Until the chicken is cooked the gravy will be thick. Add water until you get a desired consistency. Serve with Rice, Dosas, Chapati etc.

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