Chettinad Chicken

Recipe: Spicy Indian Chettinad Chicken

Chettinad cuisine is a style of cooking unique to Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India. “Chettinads” are actually a social caste of people from this region who for generations have been known for specialising in the preparation of food, and the cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in all of India. Chettinad Chicken is a fiery curry but you can reduce the chillies mentioned below to suit your own palate. Chettinad Chicken tastes great with parathas (bread) and even plain white rice

If you like spicy, curried chicken, you’ll love this dish!

Cooking ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds,1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp aniseed/fennel seeds
  • 3 dry red chillies, 3 cloves
  • 1 piece of cinnamon, 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 2 tsps. Ginger paste, 2 tsps. garlic paste
  • 2-3 tbsps. vegetable/sunflower/canola oil or ghee
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 2 large onions sliced fine, 1 star anise
  • 2 tomatoes chopped fine
  • 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 1 kg chicken (you can use a whole chicken cut into eighths or smaller, or leg or breast pieces)
  • Salt to taste, 2 tsps. lime juice, chopped coriander leaves to garnish


Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu
Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu

Method of Preparation

Heat a heavy pan on a medium flame and roast the poppy, coriander, cumin and fennel seeds, dry red chillies, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and coconut for 3-4 minutes. Remove from flame and allow cooling. Grind the mixture into a coarse powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder.

  1. Mix the ginger and garlic pastes with this powder and keep aside.
  2. In another deep pan, heat the oil and add the curry leaves. When they stop sputtering, add the sliced onions and fry till they are light brown.
  3. Add the spice paste and star anise and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and chili powder and stir well to mix all the ingredients.
  5. Add the chicken, cover and simmer till it is tender.
  6. When the chicken is done add lime juice, mix well and turn off the flame.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Travel Ideas to Chennai, Tamil Nadu

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