Chettinad Chicken


Chettinad Chicken has become one of my favorites off late. In different restaurants, you will find different versions of chettinad chicken. However, one thing I have realized is that the basic flavor in all of them, is pretty much the same. For that matter, in most preparations, there is something that is unique and common. And in Chettinad preparation few of the ingredients that gives it that distinct flavor are fennel seeds, shallots, curry leaves, coconut paste and mint leaves. So even if you don’t follow the below recipe in the exact manner, ensuring that the above mentioned ingredients are added in some order or the other, the taste will be pretty much good πŸ™‚

What I like about this chicken curry is that, it is different from the usual style of chicken curries we make otherwise. I love the flavor the fennel seeds add to this curry. It goes very well with any kind of bread, ghee rice, dosa, Kerala porotta, idiyappam or even plain rice πŸ™‚ And for me, this is one of the comfort foods πŸ˜‰ Somehow, I feel it is light to ones’ tummy πŸ˜€ I strongly recommend this curry if you are a fan of South Indian food and I guarantee that this will be as good as the chettinad chicken you get in restaurants. Am sure, everyone will like this awesome Chettinad Chicken curry!!!


Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Chicken(with bone) – 1 kg
Onion – 3 nos. small sized, chopped
Tomato – 3 nos. small sized, chopped
Garlic – 10-12 pods
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cloves – 3-4 nos
Cardamom – 3 nos
Bay leaf – 2 nos
Curry leaves – 2-3 sprigs
Mint leaves – 4 strands, chopped
Coriander leaves – 10 strands, chopped
Oil – 5 tbsp or as needed
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1 tsp)

To grind-1:
Ginger – 3/4 inch piece
Shallots – 5-6 nos.
Garlic – 10-12 pods
Green chilli – 3 nos
Chilli powder – 2.5 tsp
Coriander powder – 2.5 tbsp

To grind-2:
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Cashew – 5-6 nos

1. Heat oil in a sauce pan. Put cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf, mint leaves and curry leaf mentioned under Ingredients section. Once it splutters, add chopped onion and saute.
2. Once the onion turns light pink, put crushed garlic and saute for 2-3 mins.
3. Add chopped tomato and cook till the tomatoes cook well and become a paste.
4. Meanwhile, grind the ingredients mentioned under ‘To grind-1’ section into a smooth paste. Once tomatoes cook, add this mixture into the pan. Saute till the raw smell goes.
5. Then add the chicken and salt and mix it well so the masala is coated well on the chicken pieces.
6. Cook covered in medium flame till the chicken cooks well. Chicken will leave a lot a water. But if needed, add water for chicken to cook well.
7. Meanwhile, grind the ingredients mentioned under ‘To grind-2’ section into a smooth paste. Once chicken is cooked, add this ground paste into the gravy and mix well.
8. Let it cook for about 5 mins. Add water if you need more gravy. If you want a thicker gravy, cook in medium high flame till the desired consistency.
9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Pepper chicken(Gravy)


Hmm..can’t imagine 2013 has gone past and we are already half way through the first month of 2014. So, first thing first. Me and DD want to wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year πŸ™‚

Well, to add a little spice to your 2014, I thought of posting something very flavorful and special. You can never go wrong with this recipe. If you are a south Indian, and especially coming from parts of Malabar region, then I can say that you would already know the goodness of pepper. This dish brings the flavor and aroma of fresh pepper. I used to be satisfied with the black peppercorns that you get in regular grocery stores. But last day a friend of ours made me smell the peppercorns that they got from Costco. With the strong aroma of the pepper, I knew it was from the land of Kerala. And of course, it was!!!(The export quality black pepper). The aroma took me back to the memories of my childhood days when my mom would take the peppercorns fresh from our estate and make me smell it. Thats when I realized, there is so much adulteration in things we use regularly. We no longer get the fresh and best of anything even if we are willing to spend money 😦 Sad !!!

This dish is a Chettinad speciality and is good both in dry and gravy form. I have made the gravy variety here. This goes well with various things like Fried rice, Pulao, Biryani, Dosa, Chappati, Naan, Appam or even Bread. The blend of fresh peppercorns, fennel seeds and generous amount of curry leaves gives it a very distinct taste that goes well with any bread or rice item. I recently made it to have along with appam and dosa. DD and I loved it so much that we happened to make this couple of more times within a span of 2 weeks. So I would recommend that you make this dish whenever you want to impress someone with your cooking πŸ˜‰



Boneless chicken – 1/2 lbs
Onion – 1 no large size
Tomato – 1 no large size
Cloves – 3-4 nos
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Cardamom – 3 nos
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Garam masala – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 2-3 strands
Coriander leaves – 2 strands
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 3/4 tsp)

To grind:-

Garlic – 7-8 pods
Ginger – 1 inch
Peppercorns – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – 3/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilli – 3 nos


1. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Fry the ingredients mentioned under section ‘To grind’ till they are fried well and gives a nice aroma. The galic should turn light brown.
2. Keep it aside. Once it cools down, grind it into a fine paste in a mixie/grinder.
3. Heat remaining oil in a pan. Add cloves, cinnamon and cardamom into and once it splutters, add finely chopped onion to it. Also put the salt and the curry leaves at this time. Fry the onion well in medium high flame. The onion should turn brown. Only if the onion cooks well, would it get dissolved and form a smooth and thick sauce.
4. Add the ground paste and cook well. To this add, coriander powder and garam masala. Saute well till it cooks through.
5. Now add finely chopped tomato. Saute till the tomatoes are cooked properly. You would know when oil starts to separate.
6. Now add the chicken pieces to it. Mix it well with the paste. Close with a lid and let it cook in low flame. After sometime, chicken will start leaving out water. The chicken should get cooked in that water. But if you see the need to add water, you can occassionally add some water.
7. The pepper chicken gets its flavor by cooking in a low medium flame so that all the spices get into the chicken while cooking. So closing the lid and cooking in low medium flame is an important thing to note in this recipe. Stir occasionally and add water to get the consistency you prefer.
8. Once chicken is cooked, garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Goes best with Naan, Dosa or Appam.