Chettinad chicken curry is a classic South Indian chicken curry recipe from the heart of Tamil Nadu and is a must-have in your recipe repertoire! This is one chicken curry which you won’t ever forget thanks to its deliciousness!
Chettinad chicken curry is a very popular recipe from the southern part of India and it very well deserves all the love & care it gets for its unique deliciousness. Chettinad chicken curry is very different from the classic chicken curry and once you try this South-Indian delicacy, you will simply fall in love with it. Chettinad chicken curry is best enjoyed with plain white rice; so, this recipe is perfect for the Sunday family lunch to enjoy with everyone without any hustle. The primary ingredient of chettinad chicken curry is grated coconut which makes it unique and the spice paste which gives this chicken curry the authentic South-Indian flavor. I would urge you to make the spice paste at home as instructed in the recipe below instead of buying the readymade chettinad chicken curry masala; the freshly roasted & ground spices have more flavor than any ready spice-mix and you will know it for yourself once you give it a try.
Chettinad cuisine is very famous for its use of freshly ground spices which lend beautiful aroma to the final dish and this chettinad chicken curry is no exception. The small pearl onions which are also known as sambar onions are added to chettinad chicken curry instead of regular onions and they add more sweetness to balance out the warm spices. All other spices used in chettinad chicken curry are regular Indian spices e.g. coriander & cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and others. This recipe calls for dry roasting of spices which releases the essential oil of the whole spices and adds wonderful flavor to the dish. Do not skip this dry roasting step; if you use cumin & coriander powder instead of freshly ground coriander & cumin seeds, the final taste of your chettinad chicken curry will never be the same. There is no other special requirement for this recipe; you can use regular curry cut of chicken to make this chettinad chicken curry and call it a day!
Living in south India for 10 years has allowed me taste their array of delicacies and I have fallen in love with them helplessly. Be it Hyderabadi chicken biryani or classic chicken 65, I love them all. Now I have this new favorite chettinad chicken curry added to the list. My hub freaked out on this more than me which basically means this chicken curry is going to be a frequent affair on our lunch table. Though he is not fond of coconut in savory dishes, this chettinad chicken curry turned out to be a winner for him. That may be because the grated coconut is ground to a very fine paste resulting into almost cream like consistency; you would hardly be able to detect coconut in the final gravy. Coconut adds sweetness impeccably balancing the warm spices and is the signature ingredient in this chettinad chicken curry. Even if you don’t like coconut, don’t skip it; trust me this coconutty curry will win your heart over!
I am planning to share all the quintessential chicken curry recipes from different regions of India and share with you all; specially all those restaurant classics so that you can create them at home and enjoy a fine dining experience with friends & family whenever you want. This chettinad chicken curry is definitely the beginning and we have a long way to go. Being true spice-lovers, it makes complete sense to start with a recipe from one of the spiciest cuisines of India i.e. Chetinnad cuisine. It would be great if you guys pour in your recipe requests! I would love to share what you want to see here. It would make my job easy too as I won’t have to think too hard to decide upon recipes! I can solely concentrate on developing the final dish and share with ya’all. That’s all for today folks! I hope you will be making this chettinad chicken curry as soon as possible and fall for it as hopelessly as we did! Don’t forget to let us know! Enjoy!
- Chicken – 1 kg, skinless & bone-in curry cut pieces
- Curd/yogurt – ½ cup
- Ginger paste – ½ tbsp
- Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tbsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Cinnamon – 1-inch piece
- Cloves – 4 to 6
- Green cardamom – 4
- Star anise – 1
- Dry red chili – 6
- Whole black peppercorn – 1 & ½ tsp
- Coriander seeds – 1 & ½ tbsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
- Poppy seeds – 1 tsp
- Grated fresh coconut – ½ cup
- Water as required
- Shallots/sambar onion – 200 gms, sliced
- Green chilli – 1
- Tomato – 1, large, finely chopped
- Curry leaves – 1 handful
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Take the chicken pieces in a large bowl and add all the ingredients listed under marinade. Massage the chicken pieces with the marinating ingredients making sure all the pieces are coated thoroughly. Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Heat a frying pan and dry roast all the spices listed under spice paste except grated coconut and water. Dry roast the whole spices for 4 to 5 minutes on medium flame until fragrant. Then transfer them to a plate and let them cool.
- Once the spices are cooled down, transfer to a grinder jar and grind them to a fine powder. Now add the grated coconut and about half a cup of water and grind again to make a smooth & thick spice paste. Set it aside.
- Heat a large wok and add the oil to it. Once the oil is hot, add sliced shallots and slit green chili. Sauté the onion on medium heat until they turn golden brown; about 10 minutes.
- Then add the finely chopped tomato and sauté on medium for 3 to 4 minutes until the tomatoes are softened.
- Now add the marinated chicken pieces along with any accumulated juice and spices. Sauté the chicken on medium flame for 10 to 15 minutes. Chicken may release a lot of water which should be boiled off during the sautéing.
- Next add the coconut-spice paste and mix everything well. Sauté the chicken with spice mix for good 10 minutes or until the oil is released from the spices. Season the chicken with salt to taste.
- Now add about a cup of hot water and give a good mix. Add the curry leaves and bring the liquid to boil. Once the gravy starts boiling, cover the wok and let the chicken simmer on lowest heat for 20 minutes or until the chicken pieces are completely cooked. Stir couple of times in between to ensure that the spices are not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Once chicken is completely cooked, adjust the consistency of the gravy as per your liking. If its too thick, add little more water and bring to boil; if it’s too watery, boil off some excess water.
- Your Chettinad chicken curry is done. Serve it hot with plain white Basmati rice. Enjoy!