Chettinad Chicken –

Sinfully Spicy - Chettinad Chicken

Me & Kulsum always joke & tell each other that we are long-lost sisters, sisters who have never met or knew each other before our food blogs happened. We took off around a similar time frame in the blogging world and have been in touch for almost 2 years now. Sharing an unadulterated love for all things Indian – food, spices, culture & lifestyle, whenever we communicate via twitter or mails or comments, mostly, we end up saying “oh..I was thinking the same way too” :)..It’s like you read my mind & speak my heart! These are the reasons I adore blogging. You touch people & they form a beautiful part of your life.

Sinfully Spicy - Chettinad Chicken

It’s a pleasure to share my little bit on Kulsum’s blog today. Thanks for having me over. While we were discussing the recipe for the guest post, she suggested doing something south indian. I mostly cook north indian food at home but am a die-hard fan of south indian food..It was a rare opportunity to make one of the south indian specialties which both me & my husband like to cook in our home kitchen. So I m sharing a recipe of Chettinad Chicken, which I learnt way back in Chennai when my husband was studying there. Every time I cook it, we enjoy it thoroughly. Hope you like it too!

Check out my recipe on her blog here.

You can find printable recipe here.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

Marinate for 20 minutes:-

  • 2 lb/ 1 kg chicken drumsticks or thigh portions, skinned (use any dark meat portions, bone in pieces recommended)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Spices to be Dry Roasted :-

▪    1.5 tsp white poppy seeds

▪    1 tsp fennel seeds

▪    2 tsp coriander seeds

▪    1.5 tsp cumin seeds

▪    5 cloves

▪    10-12 dry red chilies (adjust to tolerance)

▪    4 whole green cardamom

▪    1/2 cup fresh grated coconut

▪    Water for grinding (about 1/4 cup)

For the Sauce:-

▪    4 tbsp mustard/canola/vegetable oil

▪    1/2 cup sambhar onions, chopped

▪    2″ cinnamon stick

▪    2 star anise

▪    2 tbsp each grated fresh ginger & garlic

▪    8-10 curry leaves (available at indian stores)

▪    1.5 tsp red chili powder (adjust to tolerance)

▪    1.5 tsp turmeric powder

▪    1 cup tomatoes, chopped

▪    3-5 Thai green chilies, chopped fine (adjust to tolerance)

▪    Salt to taste

▪    1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (adjust to taste)

▪    Fresh grated coconut (for garnish)

▪    Chopped cilantro / curry leaves ( for garnish)


  1. SambharOnions can be  substituted with shallots or equivalent quantity of chopped red onions.
  2. Fresh coconut can be substituted with unsweetened grated coconut.

Method :-

  • In a medium saucepan, first dry toast all the spices except fresh coconut for 2 minutes on low heat till you smell the aroma.
  • Next, add the grated coconut to the pan and toast till the coconut starts to change color lightly and drying out. About 8-10 minutes.
  • Once done, remove pan from heat & allow cooling. Grind the cooled spices & coconut to a paste using 1/4 cup of water or as required for grinding. The paste doesn’t have to be silky smooth. Set aside.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil on medium till it starts to smoke lightly. Add, chopped onions and cook with regular stirring till they are translucent but not browned. About 5-7 minutes.
  • Next, add the cinnamon stick & star anise and cook for 18-20 seconds till you smell the aroma of whole spices.
  • Add in the grated ginger and garlic, curry leaves & ground spice paste and red chili & turmeric powder. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Next, reduce heat to low, add the chopped tomatoes, mix in & cook uncovered for at least 12-15 minutes with regular stirring till oil starts separating on sides of the pot.
  • Add in the marinated chicken & chopped green chilies next, mix, check the salt & adjust, increase heat to high and let cook for 3 minutes. Next, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot & let the chicken cook with the spices & its own juices for 12-15 minutes or till tender (This cooking time will depend on size of your chicken pieces)
  • Uncover the pot, check if the chicken pieces are tender else cook for another 2-3 minutes. Once chicken pieces are cooked, turn off the heat, add the lemon juice to liking, cover & let sit covered till ready to serve.
  • When ready to serve, garnish with chopped cilantro/ curry leaves/fresh coconut. Serve with warm rice.



Enjoy & Have a lovely week ahead everyone!


  1. What a beautiful photo! This looks wonderful.

  2. That dish looksamazing! I’m heading over to Kulsum’s blog…



  3. What an awesome post Tanvi. Great photography and even greater write up as usual :)

  4. As I was saying to Kulsum, you two strike me as long lost sisters too. I always always order chettinad chickn in restaurants! No I can make it at home!

  5. Slurp,looks delicious,..luv the platter

  6. Simple and delicious! I love this meal ( actually, I love all of your food Tanvi). I am off to check your post.

  7. Omg, terrific chettinad chicken,seriouslt makes me hungry..

  8. Tanvi, you have definitely outdone yourself. I mean wow. This Chettinad chicken looks absolutely delicious and wonderful. Definitely something to make for the winter time. I love it

  9. Great guest post, Tanvi. This meal looks divine! xx

  10. Excellent guest post Tanvi. Blogging is indeed such a beautiful journey and if only i could explain it to my non blogging friends!
    I love any chicken curry which is spicy and this is one of my fav too… beautifully presented.

  11. Wow! Tanvi lovely post and superb clicks!

  12. My curries are never this photogenic. I feel like I’m starving now that I’ve visited you LOL
    *kisses* HH

  13. Heading over there…:) So nice to have a blogging sister like that!

  14. It’s so inspiring to read about the special connection between two of my favorite and most talented desi bloggers. A toast to your friendship girls! Hey Tanvi, I’m a hooker for chettinad flavors. So yum!

  15. that looks so amazing! I love indian food and this hits all the right notes!

  16. Amazing recipe and beautiful photos Tanvi. Couldn’t have expected less from you :)

  17. checked out your delicious post looks wonderful

  18. This looks absolutely AMAZING!!

  19. I love how delicious these chicken legs look in your photos! Yum!

  20. Your presentation and pictures are always beautiful! Very tempted to prepare it for Mr Artichoke :-)

  21. Congrats on the Top 9! You said all the right things: spicy, coconut, and curry! I’m headed over to Kulsum’s blog now!

  22. Thank you so much everyone for stopping by and the kind words! Love you all!

  23. Amazing! Congrats on the top 9!

  24. What a terrific dish Tanvi..
    God I missed your posts for almost 10 days and now I am awarded with this…. YAY…..
    Beautiful pictures dear as usual…

  25. Congrats on Foodbuzz top 9!

  26. That looks sooo good.

  27. What an beautiful dish. Your photos are great! Congratulation on the top 9. Well done!

  28. I have been looking around for a Chettinad chicken recipe for quite some time now!Not that I didn’t find it on the Net,but I felt your version was awesome!Thanks for the recipe and the dish looks marvellous:) Congrats on the Top 9!

  29. balvinder says:
  30. Heading over to check it out now :)

  31. I can’t believe I missed this post! Wow how delicious! I didn’t know you and Kulsum are so close! It’s so nice you have 2 year of friendship already. What a great support to each other. Going over to her blog now.

  32. Looks fantastic!

  33. The moment i saw this pic , i knew I had to make it. Made this yday and my fussy husband loved it !! :) Have posted and linked it you as well… :)

  34. Rheena says:

    Hi Tanvi…made this last weekend and it was awesome! thank you!

    The site of it makes me hungry…

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