Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chettinad Chicken

Chettinad Chicken - South Indian Chicken Curry
Sometimes, you plan your meals and other times the meal pretty much cooks itself with what you have in your refrigerator and pantry. Every now and again you end up with a winner! The recipe I am sharing with you today was definitely a winner! 

I picked up a huge bunch of curry leaves from the Indian store the other day, with the intention of drying up most of it for future use. I have done this in the past and it lasted me ages. I don't know about you, but I can't go through the huge bunches of curry leaves they sell at the market quickly enough and hate the thought of them rotting in my refrigerator. Drying them for future is the perfect solution - when it works! Yep, that's right ladies and gentlemen - I failed. I "over-thank" the drying of curry leaves (yes, you CAN over think drying of herbs) and ended up with a bunch of mold covered leaves which I had to chuck out. Bummer! Well, I am nothing if not determined and persistent, so I WILL try again and I will succeed! 

Chettinad Chicken - South Indian Chicken Curry

Luckily though, I used some of the curry leaves while they were fresh to cook an old favorite - Chettinad Chicken. Chettinad chicken is a South Indian spicy chicken curry that will make your heart sing and nose water. About time I posted a delicious soul warming curry recipe around here, don't you think? Chettinad Chicken originates from the Chettinad region from the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. South Indian curries have a very distinctive flavor, very different to the North Indian fare commonly found in Indian restaurants. An important part of this "South Indian" flavor comes from curry leaves. 

Yield - Serves 4

Time - 1.5 Hours

Chettinad Chicken - South Indian Chicken Curry


2 LB Chicken thighs (on the bone)
2-3 Kashmiri Red Chilies
4 Cloves
1 inch Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
2 Cardamoms
1 Teaspoons Coriander Seeds
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
3 Medium Onions
1 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
5 Curry Leaves
2 Bay Leaves
3 Tablespoons Yogurt 
1 Tomato
1 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Teaspoon Red chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
3 Tablespoons Oil
Salt, to taste


Marinate the chicken for a couple of hours in yogurt, turmeric and red chili powder. Add some salt.

Soak the poppy seeds in half a cup of hot water for about half an hour.

Dry roast the whole spices ( Kashmiri red chilies, cinnamon, fennel, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamoms and cloves) for a few minutes.

Grind the roasted spices along with the soaked poppy seeds and its soaking liquid. 

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. A heavy bottomed pot works too if you don't have a pressure cooker. Add the bay leaves.

Add sliced onions and cook for a few minutes. Add ginger garlic paste and continue cooking for a few more minutes.

Add the curry leaves and cook till the onions are caramelized.

Add the marinated chicken and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the spice paste that you made earlier and stir it through. Cook for a few more minutes.

Add the tomato (chopped) into the pot. 

Cook till the tomatoes soften. Add a little salt to help it along.

Add the coconut milk and stir.

Pressure cook for about 10 minutes. Indian curries are often timed by the number of 'whistles'! This curry needs one whistle. If you're not using a pressure cooker, cover the pot and let the curry simmer in low - medium heat for about 25 minutes. 

Serve with hot steamed rice.

Chettinad Chicken - South Indian Chicken Curry



  1. That looks and sounds mouthwatering, Bach! I have a sneaking suspicion that I couldn't handle the heat though ;)

    1. Haha! I barely could! I went a bit overboard on those chilies because they're not supposed to be that hot. But you could leave it out, it would just take the heat down with no compromise on flavour.

  2. Bach, this looks SO delicious! All I want now is few rotis and big bowl of this chicken! yumm!

  3. Making my mouth water just looking at the ingredients! Thanks for sharing it with us at #TryaBiteTuesday. Pinning & tweeted!!!

  4. I've never had chettinad chicken curry and it looks delicious! I'm sorry you had to throw out your curry leaves, but I'm certain you will prevail!


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