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” :)..Itâ€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.

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. Sambhar Onions 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!

36 thoughts on “Chettinad Chicken –

  1. What a beautiful photo! This looks wonderful.

  2. 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!

  3. Faith (An Edible Mosaic) – I’m Faith and I blog at where I share my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes. I focus on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. Come check out my mosaic of recipes.
    Faith on said:

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. Sawsan Abu Farha @ Chef in disguise – Http:// – In love with the Middle Eastern culture and cuisine. Sharing easy authentic Middle Eastern recipes is my passion
    thefooddoctor on said:

    Heading over to check it out now 🙂

  9. 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.

  10. rheena74 – Sudden interest in the culinary world has led me here....well actually I came across some beautiful food blogs which were absolutely mesmerizing! and then came Jamie Oliver,Gordon Ramsay..Kylie Kwong....but you will be surprised that I never really cooked much of my life..I even used to stay away from the kitchen cos I could never cut onions the same thickness! But after having 2 kids, a boy and a girl.. My interest in healthy eating was stirred. Weird they don't teach you healthy eating in med school ! ;) I started this blog firstly so that I can find the recipes I've tried and tested easily.. And so that my friends can access it easily too. I love a cooking challenge and though I had started off just cooking but the plating part came on after watching season after season of Masterchef Australia! After that I've been on a roll! ;) Anyway I try posting regularly when I find the time and many recipes are after work kind of recipes, so I hope you guys will try them out and leave your comments. Live strong and live with passion!
    Rheena on said:

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

  11. akshata – I am a housewife who loves to cook different types of dishes i like change when i cook , I also love to click photographs pertaining to food, people and culture. I like photographs that are natural and real. I love reading,painting and creating new things. If there are friends out there who share my interests pls read my blog and send your comments.
    akshata on said:

    The site of it makes me hungry…

  12. Pingback: Chettinad Kip - Pittige kip curry uit Zuid-India - Vlakbij de Molen

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