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28 March, 2016

Chicken Chettinad (South Indian Style Spicy Chicken Curry)

Posted in : Indian Recipes on by : archi Tags:

Chicken Chettinad is a popular dish from South India. This is usually made quite spicy and goes well with boiled rice. Baingan Chettinad is also made similarly, but there are some small differences here. This recipe serves 5-6 people.


Chicken Chettinad (South Indian Style Spicy Chicken Curry)



Boneless chicken (breast or thighs): 1 lb.

Pyanj (Onions): 2 large

Tomato: 1 large

Aada (Ginger) paste: 1 tbsp

Roshun (Garlic) paste: 1 tbsp

Posto (Poppy seeds): 1 tsp

Grated coconut (narkol kora): ½ cup

Salt: 1 tsp (according to taste)

Halud powder (Turmeric powder): ½ tsp

Lal lonka powder (Red chilli powder): 1 tsp

Green cardamom: 3-4

Cloves: 4-5

Cinnamon stick: 1 (about 2 inches)

Whole jeera (Cumin): 1 tsp

Whole dhania (Coriander seeds): 1 tsp

Gol morich (whole black pepper): 1 tsp

Shukno lonka (Dry red chilies): 2

Cholar dal (Bengal gram): 1 tbsp

Curry pata (Fresh curry leaves): 2 stems (8-10 leaves)

Saunf/Mouri (Fenugreek seeds): 1 tsp

Kalo shorshe (Black mustard seeds): 1 tsp

Doi/dahi (Yogurt): 2 tbsp

Haldi/holud (Turmeric powder): 1 tsp

Tej pata (Bay leaves): 2 leaves

Vegetable oil: 1 cup



Cut the chicken in medium sized pieces, about 1 inch per side. Wash them well.

Strain the yogurt to remove water. This enables the marinade to easily adhere to the chicken pieces.

In a large bowl take the chicken pieces, and all the ingredients for the marinade (strained yogurt, ginger paste, garlic paste, turmeric powder, half of the entire red chili powder quantity, half of the entire salt quantity). Mix well and place in refrigerator for at least two hours.

Chop and finely chop the onion and set aside.

Coarsely chop the tomato, puree them in a mixer grinder and set aside.



Take about 1 tbsp oil in a kadai or saucepan and apply medium heat. When the oil becomes hot add the whole dry spices (cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, dry red chilies, coriander, curry leaves, Bengal gram, fenugreek seeds and black pepper). Stir constantly and continue frying for a few minutes until they turn brown and start crackling.



Transfer the fried spices to a mixer-grinder and grind them into a fine paste. This is the Chettinad masala. Keep aside.

To the saucepan add poppy seeds and sauté for about a minute until it starts changing color. Remove from saucepan and mix with grated coconut in a mixer-grinder cup along with about 2 tbsp. water and make a smooth paste. Keep aside.

In the meantime take the remaining oil in the kadai or saucepan and add the mustard seeds, bay leaves and curry leaves. When they start crackling add chopped onions and stir well. When the onions turn golden-brown (about 2-3 minutes), add about 2 tbsp. of Chettinad masala prepared earlier and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Then add the coconut-poppy seed paste and tomato puree and sauté for additional 2-3 minutes until the oil starts separating.



Add the marinated chicken pieces, remaining salt and red chili powder and continue stirring for about 8-10 minutes until the raw smell of ginger and garlic disappears and oil starts separating. Then add water to completely cover the chicken pieces, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 12-15 minutes, checking frequently, until the chicken pieces are completely cooked.



When the gravy reduces somewhat, remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Optionally garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy!



  • Use of bay leaves is optional, and you may skip them.
  • To marinate chicken you may use lemon juice (1 medium sized lemon) instead of yogurt.

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