This Chettinad chicken curry recipe is from one of the most aromatic and spiciest cuisines of India – Chettinad! Chettinad cuisine, from the Chettinad region of the South Indian state Tamil Nadu, is known for it’s distinctly aromatic and spicy style.
This curry is not for the faint-hearted!
Chettinad cuisine is distinctly aromatic, spicy, and fiery. It has a lot of flavours going on, so finding the perfect blend of spices is the key.
The base that adds character to most of the signature Chettinad curries is made up of freshly ground (and sometimes fried) spices, tomatoes, chillies, ginger, garlic, tamarind and coconut.
If you had shied away from cooking Chettinad chicken worrying it’s a complicated dish, this “take-it-easy version” simplifies it for you! My wife loves it so much that it has become a popular item on our Sunday lunch menu.
This recipe is from one of the most aromatic and spiciest cuisines of India - Chettinad! Chettinad cuisine, from the Chettinad region of the South Indian state Tamil Nadu, is known for it's distinctly aromatic and spicy style. It has a lot of flavours going on, so finding the perfect blend of spices is the key.
Get the spices ready. Some of our ingredients, like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, can significantly alter the flavour balance of the dish. Take special care not to add more that the stipulated quantities in this recipe.
Wash the chicken pieces, and cut to small/medium sized pieces. Thinly slice the onions, finely chop tomatoes, ginger, and garlic.
Add turmeric, salt, lime juice to the chicken and mix well. Keep aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
Dry roast the spices in a pan, without the red chillies, on medium flame.
Once they start to turn brown, add chillies, and fry for 30 seconds while stirring frequently. The spices should turn golden brown. Now add the grated coconut, stir well and fry till the mixture is evenly golden brown. Set aside to cool.
In a pressure cooker, heat some oil and fry onions till they turn tender.
Add ginger, garlic and curry leaves. Fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the marinated chicken pieces and mix well.
Add chopped tomatoes, stir well, close the lid, and cook on a high flame on pressure cooker mode.
Cook till you get the first whistle. Reduce to medium, and cook till you get the second whistle. Switch off and set aside to cool.
Transfer the fried spices (it shouldn't be hot) to a mixer jar.
Blitz the fried spices in a mixer to fine powder (do not add water).
Once you have an evenly ground mixture, add 1/4 cup water and blend well. Add more water (1/2 cup) and blend till you get a smooth, paste-like consistency.
Now open the pressure cooker (Don't force open. Wait until the pressure is fully released), and transfer the contents to a pan.
Add the spice paste and mix well.
Cook on a low flame for 10 minutes. Add more water if required. Check for salt. Finely chop cilantro (coriander leaves) and garnish.
Serve hot with rice.
To balance the heat, I used 3 kashmiri dry red chilies, and just one red hot chilly. If you like your Chicken Chettinad fiery, feel free to replace Kashmiri chilies with hotter variants.
I haven't used kalpasi (stone flower), one of the ingredients common in traditional Chettinad chicken recipes, in my recipe. If you can get hold of it, add 2-3 in step 7 along with ginger and garlic.