Chicken Chettinad

4.84 from 12 votes

Chicken Chettinad Curry is a fiery, delicious traditional curry from the Chettinad region of South India. Use my easy recipe to make it at home.

If you would like to try more South Indian chicken recipes, here are some more that you can make at home: Coconut Curry Chicken, Malabar Chicken Curry, Kerala Style Chicken Stew, Chettinad Pepper Chicken, and Kori Rotti.

Chicken Chettinad curry served in a bowl.
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About Chicken Chettinad Curry

Chettinad Chicken Curry is a fiery, delicious, and aromatic dish from the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu, South India.

Known for its bold flavors and spice-infused preparations, Chettinad cuisine has gained popularity worldwide, and this chicken curry is one of its shining stars.

This spicy and robust chicken curry perfectly balances spices, herbs, and tender chicken, resulting in a rich and flavorful gravy.

The key to an authentic Chettinad chicken curry is its distinctive spices blend.

The curry is typically prepared using a mix of freshly roasted and ground spices, including cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, cumin, Guntur chilies, and coriander seeds.

This spice blend and a generous amount of aromatic ingredients, such as curry leaves, ginger, garlic, fresh coconut, and onions, create a complex and tantalizing flavor profile.

Serve it with steamed rice, dosa, or appam. It can also be served with Indian breads like naan, phulka or lachha paratha..

Ingredients

To Marinate The Chicken

Chicken – Use skinless bone-in chicken pieces for the best taste, as the bones add a lot of flavor to the curry.

I used full chicken cut into pieces, but you can use only legs or legs with thighs.

If you are not a fan of bone-in chicken, you can use boneless chicken, too.

You will need salt and freshly squeezed lime juice to marinate the chicken.

To Make The Chettinad Masala Paste

Whole Spices – You will need coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds (saunf), white poppy seeds (khus khus), cinnamon (dalchini), star anise (chakri phool), green cardamoms (hari elaichi), black peppercorns (kali mirch), and cloves (laung).

You will also need garlic cloves, grated fresh coconut, and whole-dried Guntur red chilies.

This curry gets its fiery, spicy flavor from the use of Guntur chilies. However, if they are not available, you can use any spicy dried red chilies.

Guntur chilies, also known as Guntur Sannam or Guntur Mirchi, are a variety of chili peppers originating from the Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh, India.

They are widely renowned for their intense heat and pungency, making them a staple ingredient in Andhra cuisine, which is known for its fiery flavors.

Guntur chilies are considered one of the hottest chili varieties in the world.

The authentic Chettinad chicken recipe adds a spice called Kalpasi (stone flower). If it is available, add a big pinch and other whole spices for a very earthy and unique flavor.

For The Curry

Oil – Use any neutral-flavored cooking oil to make the curry. I used canola oil.

Spice Powders – This recipe requires only two spice powders: turmeric powder and Guntur red chili powder.

If Guntur chili powder is not available, then use any other spicy chili powder.

Others – You will also need curry leaves, shallots, ginger garlic paste, fresh tomatoes, green chilies, tamarind paste, and cilantro.

How To Make Chicken Chettinad

Marinate The Chicken

Mix 2 pounds of skinless bone-in chicken (cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces) with 2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice in a large bowl and keep aside for ½ an hour.

Chicken, salt and lime juice added to a bowl.
Mixed well.

Make The Chettinad Masala Paste

Add the following ingredients to a pan.

  • 3 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp white poppy seeds
  • 3-4 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 3-4 whole green cardamoms
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 10-12 dry Guntur red chilies
Whole spices and garlic added to a pan.

Dry roast on medium heat for 1 minute, until the spices are fragrant, stirring continuously.

Remove the roasted spices on a plate and keep them aside.

Roasted spices.

Add 1 cup of grated fresh coconut to the same pan and roast until dark brown, stirring continuously.

Grated coconut added to the pan.
Roasted coconut.

Transfer the roasted spices and roasted coconut to a blender with 1 and ½ cups of water and blend to make a smooth paste.

Roasted spices, roasted coconut and water added to a blender.
Smooth paste made.

Make The Curry

Heat 6 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, add 15-20 whole curry leaves and 1 and ½ cups of thinly sliced shallots and fry until they turn lightly brown, stirring frequently.

Curry leaves and shallots added to hot oil.

Add 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste and cook until the shallots are nicely browned.

Ginger garlic paste added to the pan.

Now add the marinated chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Marinated chicken added to the pan.

Add the following and cook for 3-4 minutes.

  • Chettinad masala paste
  • 1 and ½ cups of finely chopped tomatoes
  • 3-4 green chilies (slit into half)
Chettinad masala paste, tomatoes and green chilies added to the pan.

Add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and 2 teaspoon Guntur chili powder and mix well.

Turmeric powder and chili powder added to the pan.

Now add 1 cup of water and mix well.

Water added to the pan.

Reduce the heat to low.

Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 40-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked well, stirring a few times.

Pan covered with a lid.

Add 1 tablespoon tamarind paste and 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro, and cook for a minute.

Tamarind paste and cilantro added to the pan.

Serve hot.

Ready chicken Chettinad curry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make Chettinad chicken in an instant pot?

Marinate the chicken and make the Chettinad masala paste.
Press the SAUTE button on the instant pot and follow the steps until adding water. Add ¼ cup of water in place of 1 cup of water.
Close the instant pot lid and set the valve to the sealing position.
Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 8 minutes at high pressure.
Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
Release the remaining pressure manually and open the lid of the pot. Add tamarind paste and cilantro and mix well. Serve hot.

How spicy is chicken chettinad curry?

This curry is known for its spicy flavor. The level of spiciness can vary depending on the recipe, and the amount of chili peppers used.

Can I adjust the spice level in chicken chettinad curry?

You can adjust the spice level in chicken chettinad curry by reducing or increasing the amount of chili powder and green chilies. You can also balance the heat with other ingredients like coconut milk, yogurt, or cream.
If you want a milder curry, you can also use Kashmiri red chilies instead of Guntur chilies. They have a mild taste and a nice fiery red color.
Remove the seeds from the chilies if you want the curry to be milder.

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Chicken Chettinad Curry is a fiery hot and delicious traditional curry from the Chettinad region of South India. Make it using my easy recipe at home.
4.84 from 12 votes

Chicken Chettinad Curry Recipe

Chicken Chettinad Curry is a fiery hot and delicious traditional curry from the Chettinad region of South India. Make it using my easy recipe at home.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Marination Time: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

To Marinate The Chicken

  • 2 pounds skinless bone-in chicken (1 kg, cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

For The Chettinad Masala Paste

  • 3 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 2 teaspoons white poppy seeds (khus khus) (skip if not available)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 1 whole star anise (chakri phool)
  • 3-4 whole green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves (laung)
  • 10-12 dry Guntur red chilies (use Kashmiri chilies for a milder curry)
  • 1 cup grated fresh coconut

For The Curry

  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 1 and ½ cups thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 and ½ cups finely chopped tomatoes (chopped)
  • 3 – 4 green chilies (slit into half)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons Guntur red chili powder (or to taste, use Kashmiri red chili powder for a milder curry)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (pulp)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
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Instructions 

Marinate The Chicken

  • Mix chicken with salt and lime juice in a large bowl and keep aside for ½ an hour.

Make The Chettinad Masala Paste

  • Add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, garlic, cinnamon, star anise, green cardamoms, black peppercorns, cloves, and dry red chilies to a pan.
  • Dry roast on medium heat for 1 minute, until the spices are fragrant, stirring continuously.
  • Remove the roasted spices on a plate and keep them aside.
  • Add coconut to the same pan and roast until it is dark brown in color, stirring continuously.
  • Transfer the roasted spices and roasted coconut to a blender along with 1 and ½ cups of water and blend to make a smooth paste.

Make The Curry

  • Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add curry leaves and shallots and fry until they turn lightly brown, stirring frequently.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and cook until the shallots are nicely browned.
  • Now add the marinated chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the Chettinad masala paste, tomatoes, and green chilies and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add turmeric powder and Guntur chili powder and mix well.
  • Now add 1 cup of water and mix well.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 40-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked well. Stir a few times in between.
  • Add tamarind paste and cilantro and cook for a minute.
  • Serve hot.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

I used full chicken cut into pieces but you can use only legs or legs with thighs.
If you are not a fan of bone-in chicken, you can use boneless chicken too.
If whole Guntur chilies and Guntur chili powder are not available, then you can use any other spicy chili in its place. For a milder curry, use Kashmiri red chili powder or ground paprika.

Nutrition

Calories: 195kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 86mg, Sodium: 939mg, Potassium: 446mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 443IU, Vitamin C: 61mg, Calcium: 73mg, Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love all your recipes!
    Only changes I made was to marinate chicken with turmeric Kashmiri chili powder,salt , chopped garlic and ginger. I had no fresh tomatoes soused a small can of plain tomato sauce . Everyone loved it. Thank you 🙏

  2. 5 stars
    I tried it today… it came out great.. and kids loved it… thank you. it’s my second recipe attempt of yours, previous I tried butter chicken too… both came great…

  3. 5 stars
    will definitely try the Recipe as the dish look looks amazing. Very nicely presented .. made life easy. Thank you .