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Featured image of chicken salna along with parotta

Chicken Salna

Place one or two parottas in a plate. Pour a generous helping of chicken salna on top. The watery gravy of the chicken salna will slowly trickle into the crispy, flaky parotta. When they meet, there is magic! How do you feel it? Tear a piece of parotta soaked in the salna and put it in your mouth. Gently chew so that you can feel all the textures – The crispiness of the outer layers. The slightly soggy bit with the salna. This is street food at its best.

When did you come across the salna and parotta combination first? Was it in the food streets of Madurai? Or was it in Chennai? Or somewhere else? One thing is for sure. You would not have forgotten where the first chance encounter was. Because you have craved for it later.

Chicken salna served with parotta
Chicken Salna – You know you want it!

About this Chicken Salna recipe

This chicken salna recipe, like many other popular recipes on this blog, is from a mom’s kitchen. I got this recipe from my cousin who sourced it from a friend of his. And the friend got it from his mom. This chicken salna recipe will help you cook the favourite street food in the comfort of your kitchen following an authentic recipe from a mom’s kitchen.

Like many other recipes from Indian moms’ kitchens, this one also is energy and time efficient by relying on a pressure cooker to do most of the cooking. You don’t need a ton of utensils or any complicated cooking techniques. It is easy to cook, yet super delicious when it comes to flavour!

Before I forget, the original recipe calls for ‘nati koli’ or country chicken. If you can’t source the free-range chicken use the regular shop bought ones. The cooking time will be significantly less, but without compromising too much on the flavour.

Check out this chicken salna recipe and give it a try this weekend.

If you like this recipe, don’t forget to explore the following recipes as well.

  • Chettinad Chicken Curry – 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.
  • Chicken Chinthamani – Bite-sized pieces of fried chicken cooked with crushed chilli flakes, curry leaves, and a dash of vinegar. It is incredibly simple, yet amazingly delicious chicken!
  • Black Pepper Chicken – There is no complicated technique, but there is some serious “peppery love” involved!


Chicken Salna

Tear a piece of parotta soaked in the chicken salna and put it in your mouth. The slightly watery gravy of salna will slowly trickle into the flaky parotta. When they meet, there is magic!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: South Indian, Tamil Nadu
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 kilogram chicken small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoon oil

For Masala

  • 3 large onions thinly sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 6 green chillies sliced lengthwise
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 inch ginger finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil

For roasting and grinding

  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves (cilantro) chopped


  • Add turmeric powder and salt to the chicken.
  • Combine well and keep aside to marinate.
  • Keep the whole spices for toasting ready.
    Chicken Salna - Spices for toasting
  • Heat oil in a pan and toast the spices on a low flame.
    Chicken Salna Steps - Toasting the spices
  • Stir occasionally so that they don't burn.
  • Once they start releasing the spice aroma, add the grated coconut.
    Chicken Salna Steps - Add grated coconut to the toasted spices
  • Toast further till the grated coconut turns golden brown.
  • Switch off and transfer to a plate to cool down.
    Chicken Salna preparation - Toasted spices and coconut
  • Now heat some oil in a pressure cooker.
  • Add the marinated chicken and shallow fry on a medium flame.
    Chicken Salna Steps - Shallow fry the chicken
  • Transfer the chicken to a bowl and keep it aside.
  • Now add the sliced onions to the same cooker.
    Chicken Salna Steps - Cooking the sliced onions
  • Stir well and gently cook the onions.
  • In the meantime, transfer the toasted spices and grated coconut to a blender.
  • Grind to a paste adding a little water at a time.
    Chicken Salna preparation - Toasted spices and grated coconut paste
  • Keep this ground paste aside.
  • Once the onions turn tender, add the finely chopped ginger and garlic.
    Chicken Salna Steps - Ginger and garlic added to the onions
  • Mix well and continue cooking for a minute.
  • Add the finely chopped tomatoes.
  • Add green chillies and curry leaves.
    Chicken Salna preparation - Adding tomato, green chillies and curry leaves
  • Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, and garam masala.
    Chicken Salna preparation - Adding turmeric powder, chilli powder, and garam masala
  • Combine and cook on a medium flame while stirring frequently.
  • Cook till the tomatoes start vanishing into the mix.
  • Add the fried chicken back into the cooker.
    Chicken Salna preparation - Shallow fried chicken added back into the cooker
  • Mix well and cook for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  • Add the ground coconut and spice mix.
    Chicken Salna Preparation - Ground paste added in the cooker
  • Combine well and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water.
  • Mix well and close the lid.
  • Pressure cook until 1 whistle* and switch off.
  • Wait for the pressure to be completely reduced before opening the lid.
  • You can see chicken cooked to perfection in the curry base.
    Chicken Salna Preparation - Chicken cooked to perfection in the cooker
  • Add some chopped coriander leaves.
  • Switch on and simmer for a few mins.
  • Serve hot with some delicious, flaky parotta.


* If you are cooking the traditional way with 'nati koli', you will have to cook for a longer time in the pressure cooker (3-4 whistles)

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