easy chettinad chicken recipe

Savory curry smothered with coconut and onion, with the rich flavors of different spices from South India, this Chettinad chicken recipe is one of most popular and most ordered South Indian chicken dishes in restaurants. It goes great with white basmati rice.

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chettinad chicken with a side of white rice

Chettinad chicken is originally from Chettinad region of the southern state of Tamil Nadu but it has definitely become popular in other parts of India owing to its rich flavor from the different spices that are used. Traditionally Chettinad chicken is made with fresh ground spices which gives the best flavor. You can clearly tell the difference between the curry made from fresh ground spice and one made from packaged spices. I get it that it might not very convenient to freshly grind all the spices in your kitchen, but don’t worry. It will still turn out awesome!

Ingredients Used

There is not a lot of substitutes for the ingredients for this recipe. To get the right flavor there are very few things you can skip out.

  • Chicken: Goes without saying, you don’t want to skip this. Make sure you get bone-in chicken pieces for the curry, as bones are packed with a lot of flavor. If you are not a fan of bone-in pieces, like my wife, then have at least half bone-in and half chicken breasts.
  • Chettinad masala: What makes the Chettinad masala different from others are the freshly ground spices along with freshly grated coconut. If you are able to grind your own spices, that will go a long way! If not, don’t worry. Packaged spices will still get you good results
  • Onion: Traditionally, shallots are used for Chettinad chicken, so I would highly recommend that. In case your local market does not supply them, then white onions are a good alternative.
  • Other ingredients: Poppy seeds, coriander seeds, grated coconut, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, pepper corn, dried Kashmiri chillies (or red chillies), green cardomoms, cloves, cinnamon stick, curry leaves, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder. We also used mace, but this optional. Lastly, coriander leaves for garnishing.

Equipments Needed

You will need a powerful food processor to get a good puree of the masala. We previously tried with a 250 Watts one and it was a mess. Nothing got pureed properly. We recently bought a Hamilton Beach* 450 Watts one at that does the trick. If you want to take the extra step, you can also use a spice grinder such as the Fresh Grind 4.5oz Electric Coffee Grinder* for grinding all the roasted spice mix and add to the roasted coconut (you will need to roast coconut separately).

commonly asked questions

Is Chettinad chicken spicy?

It definitely has a lot of spices in them but it does not necessarily have a lot of heat. If you use Kashmiri chilli instead of red chillies, it could dial down the heat. If you are someone who cannot handle any heat at all, then be sure to have a cool glass of water on the side.

How to make a perfect chettinad chicken

chettinad chicken served on a bowl

Below are detailed steps that goes into making Chettinad chicken. I would highly suggest going through this before getting started.

Marinating chicken

  • You can do this step up ahead overnight or just do when you do it last minute for about 15 minutes. 
  • Use bone-in chicken pieces for best taste since the bone adds a lot of flavor into the curry. In the off chance you are not a big fan of bone-in pieces, use 50 % bone-in pieces or 100% chicken breast pieces. It will still taste really good
  • In a medium sized bowl, add the chicken, turmeric, curd, salt, chilli powder and ginger garlic paste. Mixed well till all the chicken pieces are evenly coated in the marinade. 
  • Let is sit aside while you are get started one the curry. 
chicken with all spices and yogurt added for marination
marinated chicken

Preparing the chettinad masala

  • First we start dry roasting some spices. On low heat, add coriander seeds and red chillies and dry roast them until it gives off a good fragrance. Its not easy to describe the smell or tell you how long you need to roast them but I would say about 2 to 3 minutes. You might have to do some trial and error here.
coriander seeds and bay leaf added to heat pot
  • Make sure you do not burn the spices.
  • Add cumin, fennel, cardamom seeds, black pepper corn, cinnamon, cloves and mace. Roast till the spices give off their fragrance. Again, ensure you not burn the spice blend.
  • Add in poppy seeds and roast it.
  • Add in grated coconut and roast it till you can smell the roasted coconut.
  • Again, make sure you don’t burn the masala. Let the mix cool down for a bit.
all spices and coconut roasted in the pot
  • Add the mix to a food processor and add little water. Run the food processor on ‘puree’ mode. Run it till you get a smooth paste. If it looks too dry, add some more water and run it again.
  • Add tomatoes. Puree again.
all masala and tomatoes pureed

Preparing the curry

  • In a deep pot, add oil on medium heat. You can use the same pot you used before.
  • When the oil is heated up, add bay leaves and onions.
  • Roast them till translucent. If you end up burning the onion, you might end up with a slightly burnt/bitter after taste. I have been there, so this is a heads up.
onion and bay leaf added to pot on medium heat
  • Add the marinated chicken to the pot. Stir the chicken and onion for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Mix well and fry till you see the oil separate.
marinated chicken and spices added to the pot
  • Add the prepared Chettinad masala blend and mix well.
add the prepared the pureed Chettinad masala
  • Add 1/2 cup water and mix again.
  • Add curry leaves and mix again.
  • Cover and let is cook until the chicken is well done and soft.
lastly curry leaves added and cook the curry
  • Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with white rice.
chettinad chicken served with rice
chettinad chicken on bowl

Easy Chettinad Chicken Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

Chicken Marinade

Chettinad Masala Blend

Others

  • 4 tbsp Oil*
  • 490 g Shallots (or white onion) Around 8 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 pieces curry leaves*
  • 2 pieces bay leaf*
  • 286 g tomatoes diced

Instructions
 

Marinating the chicken

  • In a medium sized bowl, add the chicken, turmeric, curd, salt, chilli powder and ginger garlic paste. Mix well till the chicken pieces are evenly coated in the marinade.
    marinated chicken
  • Let it rest.

Preparing The Chettinad Masala

  • Heat up a deep pan in low heat
  • Add coriander seeds and red chillies and dry roast them till you get a good fragrance from them.
    coriander seeds and bay leaf added to heat pot
  • Add cumin, fennel, cardamom seeds, black pepper corn, cinnamon, cloves and mace. Roast till the spices give off a strong smell of all the spices.
  • Next, roast the poppy seeds and then the grated coconut. Let the whole mix cool down
    all spices and coconut roasted in the pot
  • Add the mix
  • Add the mix to a food processor and add little water. Run the food processor on 'puree' mode. Run it till you get a smooth paste. Add water and puree till you get the consistency shown in the video.
  • Add tomatoes. Puree again.
    all masala and tomatoes pureed

Preparing the Curry

  • Heat up the pot to medium and add oil.
  • When the oil is heated up, add bay leaves and onions. Roast them till translucent.
    onion and bay leaf added to pot on medium heat
  • Add the marinated chicken to the pot. Stir and mix with the onions for 3 to 4 minutes
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Mix well and fry till you see the oil separate.
    marinated chicken and spices added to the pot
  • Add the prepared Chettinad masala blend and mix well.
    add the prepared the pureed Chettinad masala
  • Add 1/2 cup water and mix again. Add curry leaves and mix again. Cover and let is cook until the chicken is well done and soft.
    lastly curry leaves added and cook the curry
  • Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with white rice.
    chettinad chicken served with rice

Video

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission, with no additional cost to you. Each of these links are referenced with the asterisk symbol * next to it, at all places it is posted.

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chettinad chicken served with rice

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