Easy Chettinad Chicken Recipe

6 servings
50 min

Savory curry smothered with coconut and onion, with the rich flavors of different spices from South India, this Chettinad chicken recipe is one of most popular and most ordered South Indian chicken dishes in restaurants. It goes great with white rice.

Chettinad chicken is originally from Chettinad region of the southern state of Tamil Nadu but it has definitely become popular in other parts of India owing to its rich flavor from the different spices that are used.

Traditionally Chettinad chicken is made with fresh ground spices along with freshly grated coconut which gives the best flavor.

If you are able to grind your own spices, that will go a long way! If not, don’t worry. Packaged spices will still get you good results

Is Chettinad chicken spicy?

It definitely has a lot of spices in them but it does not necessarily have a lot of heat. If you use Kashmiri chilli instead of red chillies, it could dial down the heat. If you are someone who cannot handle any heat at all, then be sure to have a cool glass of water on the side.

Equipment Needed :

You will need a powerful food processor to get a good puree of the masala. We previously tried with a 250 Watts one and it was a mess. Nothing got pureed properly. We recently bought a Hamilton Beach* 450 Watts one at that does the trick. If you want to take the extra step, you can also use a spice grinder such as the Fresh Grind 4.5oz Electric Coffee Grinder* for grinding all the roasted spice mix and add to the roasted coconut (you will need to roast coconut separately).

Easy Chettinad Chicken Recipe
Recipe details
  • 6  servings
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 50 min
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Chicken Marinade
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric*
  • 0.5 tsp Chilli powder*
  • 2 tbsp Yogurt (curd)*
  • 2 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste* or 4 garlic cloves + 1 inch ginger
  • Salt to taste
Chettinad Masala Blend
  • 2 inch Cinnamon stick*
  • 8 pieces Cloves*
  • 1/2 cup Coconut* Grated
  • 2 tbsp Coriander seeds*
  • 2 tsp Fennel seeds*
  • 2 tbsp Poppy seeds*
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin seeds*
  • 1 tsp Pepper corn*
  • 8 pieces Whole red chillies* or 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 6 g Whole Cardamom*
  • 4 tbsp Oil*
  • 490 g Shallots (or white onion) Around 8 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 pieces curry leaves*
  • 2 pieces bay leaf*
  • 286 g tomatoes diced
Marinating the chicken
In a medium sized bowl, add the chicken, turmeric, curd, salt, chilli powder and ginger garlic paste. Mix well till the chicken pieces are evenly coated in the marinade.
Let it rest.
Preparing The Chettinad Masala
Heat up a deep pan in low heat
Add coriander seeds and red chillies and dry roast them till you get a good fragrance from them.
Add cumin, fennel, cardamom seeds, black pepper corn, cinnamon, cloves and mace. Roast till the spices give off a strong smell of all the spices.
Next, roast the poppy seeds and then the grated coconut. Let the whole mix cool down
Add the mix
Add the mix to a food processor and add little water. Run the food processor on 'puree' mode. Run it till you get a smooth paste. Add water and puree till you get the consistency shown in the video.
Add tomatoes. Puree again.
Preparing the Curry
Heat up the pot to medium and add oil.
When the oil is heated up, add bay leaves and onions. Roast them till translucent.
Add the marinated chicken to the pot. Stir and mix with the onions for 3 to 4 minutes
Add turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Mix well and fry till you see the oil separate.
Add the prepared Chettinad masala blend and mix well.
Add 1/2 cup water and mix again. Add curry leaves and mix again. Cover and let is cook until the chicken is well done and soft.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with white rice.
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