Chettinad Chicken Curry

This unique South Indian dish is known for its rich and aromatic blend of ingredients, creating a spicy and flavorful curry that is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Chettinad Chicken Curry

In Tamil Nadu, Chettinad is famous for spicy dishes, especially in chicken recipes. Chettinad Chicken Curry is a spicy, flavorful and delicious curry made with roasted and ground coconut masala. So I wanna share my recipe and tips on how to cook restaurant-style Chettinad Chicken Curry at the comfort of your own home with video!

While Chettinad chicken curry goes perfectly with dosa and appams, it tastes equally good with parathas and even with plain rice. Nowadays, Chettinad cuisine has gained popularity in non- Tamil speaking areas as well.

In today's post, we are going to explore the flavors and spices of Chettinad Chicken Curry. This unique South Indian dish is known for its rich and aromatic blend of ingredients, creating a spicy and flavorful curry that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Let's dive into the recipe and learn how to recreate this classic dish at home.

What Is Chettinad Chicken Curry?

  • Chettinad chicken curry is a traditional South Indian dish known for its bold and spicy flavors. The dish features succulent boneless chicken thigh pieces cooked with a unique blend of Indian spices and seasoning that creates an explosion of taste in every bite.
  • The combination of freshly roasted and ground spices, such as black pepper, cumin, coriander, and red chilies, along with aromatic ingredients like fennel seeds, cloves, and curry leaves, gives the Chettinad chicken curry its distinct flavor profile.
  • This mouthwatering dish is a perfect representation of the rich culinary heritage of the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu, India, and is a true testament to the art of creating delicious and bold Indian cuisine.

Why You'll Love Chettinad Chicken Curry?

  • Rich and Flavorful Texture: Chettinad chicken curry is known for its rich and flavorful texture, with the perfect blend of spices and ingredients creating a truly satisfying dish.
  • Aromatic and Spicy: The combination of spices and masalas used in the recipe creates an aromatic and spicy flavor profile that is sure to excite your taste buds.
  • Nutrient-Packed Ingredients: The use of boneless chicken, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of spices offers a range of health benefits, including protein, vitamins, and antioxidants.
  • Low Carb and Keto-Friendly: The dish is naturally low in carbs, making it a suitable option for those following a low-carb or keto diet.
  • Heart-Healthy: The inclusion of ingredients like garlic, ginger, and spices like turmeric and red chili powder offers heart-healthy benefits, aiding in lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation.
  • Satisfying and Comforting: Chettinad chicken curry is a comforting and satisfying dish that is perfect for a cozy night in or a special gathering with loved ones. The rich, warm flavors are sure to make it a new favorite in your recipe collection.

Ingredients for Chettinad Chicken Curry

  • Boneless chicken thigh pieces: The main protein in this dish, the boneless chicken thigh pieces add depth and flavor to the curry.
  • Onion: Finely chopped onions add a sweet and savory flavor to the curry, creating a rich and aromatic base.
  • Ginger and garlic paste: This aromatic paste adds a warm and pungent flavor to the dish, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Red chili powder: Adds heat and a vibrant red color to the curry, imparting a spicy kick to the dish.
  • Garam masala powder: A blend of aromatic spices, garam masala powder adds warmth and depth of flavor to the curry.
  • Coconut: The grated coconut adds a creamy and nutty flavor to the dish, balancing out the spices and adding richness to the curry.

How To Make Chettinad Chicken Curry?

  • To make Chettinad Chicken Curry, start by grinding the spices and coconut to make a smooth paste. This step is crucial as it adds depth and flavor to the dish.
  • Then, in a separate pan, temper the whole spices like fennel seeds, cloves, and cinnamon to elevate the aroma and taste of the curry.
  • Next, sauté the onions and curry leaves until they turn golden brown, and then add the ginger and garlic paste to get rid of its raw smell.
  • Adding the powdered spices at the right stage is essential for them to release their flavors and enhance the taste of the dish.
  • After adding the chicken pieces and cooking them until softened, incorporate the ground coconut paste and allow the flavors to merge for a delicious curry.
  • Finally, simmer the curry until the gravy thickens, and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves for a burst of freshness.

Following these steps and paying attention to the key elements of the recipe will ensure a flavorful and authentic Chettinad Chicken Curry.

Serving Suggestions for Chettinad Chicken Curry:

  • Pair with rice or roti: This flavorful Chettinad chicken curry goes well with steamed rice or roti, providing a satisfying meal.
  • Serve with naan: The rich and aromatic flavors of the curry make it a great accompaniment for soft and fluffy naan bread.
  • Enjoy with biryani: For a more indulgent meal, pair this curry with fragrant biryani for a true taste of South Indian cuisine.
  • Side of vegetable stir-fry: Balance the richness of the curry with a side of lightly spiced vegetable stir-fry for a complete and wholesome meal.
  • Fresh salad: Add a refreshing element to your meal with a fresh side salad, providing a crunchy contrast to the creamy curry.
  • Accompanied by yogurt: Enjoy the curry with a side of cooling yogurt, offering a contrast of flavors and textures.

Tips for Making Chettinad Chicken Curry

  • Preparation Duration: Preparing the ingredients for Chettinad Chicken Curry can take some time, especially if you are roasting and grinding the spices. Be sure to plan ahead and allocate enough time for the preparation process.
  • Cooking Techniques: When cooking the curry, be sure to saute the spices and onions until they are fragrant and golden brown. This step is crucial for building the depth of flavor in the curry.
  • Importance of Garnishing: Garnishing the Chettinad Chicken Curry with finely chopped coriander leaves not only adds a pop of color but also enhances the presentation of the dish. Don't skip this final touch for a beautiful and appetizing curry.

Variations for Chettinad Chicken Curry

  • Spice Level: Experiment with the amount of red chili powder to adjust the level of spiciness according to your preference. You can also add green chilies for an extra kick.
  • Vegetarian Twist: Replace the chicken with paneer or tofu to make a delicious vegetarian version of Chettinad curry.
  • Nutty Flavors: Add a handful of cashew nuts or almonds to the coconut paste for a creamy and nutty flavor.
  • Tangy Twist: For a tangy twist, add a splash of tamarind pulp or a squeeze of lemon juice to the curry.
  • Vegetable Medley: Incorporate your favorite vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or peas to the curry for a colorful and nutritious variation.
  • Creamy Finish: For a rich and indulgent version, stir in a dollop of fresh cream or coconut milk at the end of cooking for a creamy finish.

How to Store Chettinad Chicken Curry

  • Storing the Curry: After preparing the chettinad chicken curry, let it cool down to room temperature. Then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It can last for 3-4 days when properly stored.
  • Maintaining Freshness: To maintain the freshness of the chettinad chicken curry, make sure to keep it tightly sealed in the airtight container. This will prevent any air from getting in and keep the flavors intact.
  • Reheating Tips: When reheating the curry, make sure to heat it through thoroughly before serving. You can reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave, stirring occasionally.
  • Proper Ingredient Storage: Store the individual ingredients such as spices, chicken, and coconut in a cool, dry place. Keep spices in airtight containers and the chicken properly sealed in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Importance of Proper Storage: Proper storage is essential for maintaining the flavor, texture, and overall quality of the chettinad chicken curry. It also helps in preventing any spoilage or contamination of the dish.
  • Freezing Option: Chettinad chicken curry can also be frozen for longer storage. Simply portion the curry into freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How spicy is Chettinad Chicken Curry?

  • Chettinad Chicken Curry is known for its bold and spicy flavors. However, you can adjust the amount of red chili powder and peppercorns to suit your spice preference. Start with smaller amounts and taste as you go to find the perfect level of spiciness.

Can I use bone-in chicken for this recipe?

  • Yes, you can definitely use bone-in chicken for this recipe. Keep in mind that the cooking time may vary slightly, so make sure to adjust the cooking time as needed to ensure the chicken is fully cooked through.

Can I make Chettinad Chicken Curry ahead of time?

  • Absolutely! Chettinad Chicken Curry actually tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. Simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat it before serving.

What can I serve with Chettinad Chicken Curry?

  • Chettinad Chicken Curry pairs wonderfully with steamed rice, biryani, or even with some fluffy naan or roti. The rich and flavorful gravy is perfect for soaking up with your favorite bread or rice.

Is it necessary to use sesame oil for this recipe?

  • Traditionally, Chettinad Chicken Curry is made with sesame oil for its unique flavor. However, if you don't have sesame oil on hand, you can use any other neutral cooking oil as a substitute.

How can I adjust the consistency of the gravy?

  • If you prefer a thicker gravy, simply cook the curry for a longer time to allow the liquid to reduce and thicken. On the other hand, if you prefer a thinner gravy, you can add a bit more water or coconut milk to achieve your desired consistency.

You may also like Coconut Chicken Curry and Chicken 65

Chettinad Chicken Curry 2017-01-15 11:14:28

Recipe Card

Chettinad Chicken Curry

Serves 4    

Prep Time   00:10        

Cook Time   00:30        

Total Time   00:40                      


  • 1/2 kg boneless chicken thigh pieces
  • 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 1tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp salt or as needed          

To temper

  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 to 4 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • few curry leaves          

To roast and grind

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 to 4 red chillies
  • 8 to 10 shallots or 1/2 medium sized onion
  • 150 gram chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut

For garnishing: 

1 tbsp of finely chopped coriander leaves


For Grinding:

  • Heat a pan with 1 tsp of oil, add 1 tsp of peppercorns and fry until they splutter.
  • Then add cumin seeds and coriander seeds, fry until they become golden brown.
  • Then add red chilies and fry for few seconds. Put shallots, fry until transparent.
  • Now add tomatoes, fry until mushy and finally add grated coconut and saute until browned.
  • Switch off the heat, cool down and grind until a smooth paste.          

For Cooking

  • Meanwhile, heat a pan with 3 tbsp of sesame oil, add fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and fry until spluttering.
  • Then add chopped onions and curry leaves, fry until they become golden brown.
  • Place ginger and garlic paste and saute until it's raw smell has gone.
  • At this stage add all the powders, give a good stir.
  • Then add chicken pieces and salt, saute for 3 mins or until softened.
  • Add the coconut paste and saute for one minute.
  • Pour 1 &1/2 cups of water, mix well, cover and cook it for about 10 to 15 mins in a medium heat (stir in between) or until the gravy becomes thick.
  • Finally, garnish it with chopped coriander leaves.         
  • By Santhi Therese    The Indian Claypot
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