Thursday 15 May 2014

CHETTINAD Chicken Curry

Chettinad Chicken is among the most popular chicken curries that gets it's origin from the Chettinad region in the southern state of India, Tamil Nadu. This fiery rich curry gets it's flavour and heat mostly from the freshly ground aromatic spice blend, grated coconut and  the curry leaves  and very generous amount of red chillies used to make the masala. However, you can definitely go a bit easy on the chillies.

Chettinad Chicken happens to be one of my favourite curries . Reason!? The use of curry leaves and coconut that makes this dish special and most of all my immense love for South Indian food of course! Be it Dosa, Idli, Uthapam, Sambhar,you name it and I am a game for it.

My version of Chettinad Chicken is very mildly spiced as we do not prefer much heat in our curries. Use of curry leaves and grated coconut as I mentioned before  is a must in this recipe.I have used cashew paste that adds a creamy texture to the curry you can even use poppy seed or melon seed (charmagaz), roasted chana dal paste instead of cashews.
As a thumb rule whenever cooking chicken dish of any kind, I always prefer to score and marinate meat at least for an hour if not more. It helps the flesh to absorb the flavour of the spices to the max and as an outcome you are richly rewarded with juicy, tender and more flavourful meat pieces.

Lets get to the recipe. The list of ingredients might give you a shock:P But, it's honestly worth the effort and quite conveniently available in every kitchen pantry.
To make Chettinad Chicken Curry you will need:

6-8 Chicken drumsticks, skin removed, rinsed and dried.
3-4 tablespoon oil for cooking and extra 1 tablespoon to marinate.(I used canola oil)
salt to season your curry and 1 teaspoon extra to marinate.
8-10 curry leaves for tempering
a pinch of hing or asafoetida
1 medium red onion finely chopped
1 large tomato finely chopped or grated.
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon sambar masala
1/4 cup warm water
Lemon or lime juice
To garnish some broken cashew nuts and optional - freshly chopped coriander leaves.
For the Dry Roasted Masala you will need :
1/4 cup of grated coconut.
1/2 star anise
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3-4 black peppercorns
6-7 dry red chillies, more if you like
12-15 curry leaves
3-4 green cardamom pods
2-3 cloves
1 medium cinnamon stick
1 small ginger roughly chopped
10-12 cloves of garlic
10-12 cashew nuts.
2-3 tablespoon cooking oil to make a paste.
Dry roast all ingredients in a skillet or a frying pan above and make a paste. 


Step 1: Take your chicken pieces in a bowl and make slits on the flesh ( or score) with a sharp knife. Rub your chicken pieces with oil and salt.

Step 2: Add the ground masala blend and rub all over your chicken pieces, marinate and keep aside. I marinated my chicken overnight, but 5-6 hours is good enough. If you are too pressed for time just an hour is good too.
Step 3: Heat oil on high in a thick bottomed vessel. Turn down heat to medium and quickly add curry leaves and a pinch of hing. (At this stage you can set aside a few tempered curry leaves for garnishing)
Step 3:  As the curry leaves splatters add the chopped onion. Once onion start to soften and change colour to golden add the marinated meat along with any leftover marinade. Cook for 2-3 minutes add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, sambhar masala and cook until the masalas are cooked and fragrant.
Step 4: Add chopped or grated tomato. Mix well with the chicken and the masalas. Stir and cook well at least for 2-3 mins and cover on medium flame. By now you will see oil and masala  has separated and the chicken is almost cooked through. Add a little warm water, depending on the consistency of the gravy you want. The gravy should be thick, semi dry and not too runny.
Step 5. Do a taste test and adjust seasoning of salt as desired. Cover and cook for 5 mins.
Step 6: Garnish with some broken cashews and the curry leaves you had set aside(in step 3). You may even use freshly chopped coriander leaves but I prefer not to, let the curry leaves do the magic!

Finish off with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Dish out and enjoy Chicken Chettinad Curry at it's best accompanied with some steamed basmati rice, pilaf, dosai or any Indian bread. Happy days!
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With deep care


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1 comment:

  1. Gravy looks so tempting, love the way it coats to chicken.


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