Chicken Salna

5 from 2 votes

Chicken Salna is a thin and spicy chicken curry from Tamil Nadu, a Southern state of India. It tastes delicious with flaky parotta, biryani, or steamed rice. Make it using my easy recipe.

Chicken salna served in a bowl.
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About Chicken Salna

Chicken Salna (Chicken Chalna) is a thin and spicy chicken curry from Tamil Nadu. It is a version of plain salna in which chicken is added to the recipe.

Many roadside shops in busy markets and restaurants along the highways sell this spicy curry with flaky parotta.

People make many versions of this curry. In this post, I am sharing the easiest chicken salna recipe I learned from a chef during our Madurai visit.

This curry can be made in a traditional pressure cooker, instant pot, or a pan over the stovetop. I am sharing all the 3 methods below, so pick whichever suits you best.

Serve this delicious chicken salna with Parotta, Plain Tawa Paratha, dosa, kal dosai, idli, steamed rice, or Mutton Biryani.

This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. I made it in my 3-quart instant pot (or a 3-liter stovetop pressure cooker). If you’re scaling it up, use a bigger instant pot or a pressure cooker. The cooking time will remain the same.

Here are some more South Indian curries that you may like: Andhra Style Chicken Curry, Chicken Vindaloo, Malabar Chicken Curry, Chicken Chettinad, and Coconut Curry Chicken.

Ingredients

Chicken salna paste ingredients.
Chicken salna paste ingredients 2
Chicken salna curry ingredients 1
Chicken salna curry ingredients 2

For The Salna Paste

Whole Spices – You will need whole spices like cumin seeds, fennel seeds (saunf), whole coriander seeds, Kashmiri dry red chilies, bay leaf (tejpatta), black peppercorns (kali mirch), green cardamoms (hari elaichi), and cinnamon (dalchini).

Others – You will also need peanut oil, curry leaves, green chilies, fresh coconut, white poppy seeds, fresh ginger, and garlic.

Note – If peanut oil is unavailable, use any cooking oil you choose. Gingelly oil is also a great alternative.

You can replace white poppy seeds with peanuts or cashew nuts.

Adjust the green chilies as per your spice level.

For The Curry

Chicken – Bone-in skinless chicken pieces are perfect for this chicken salna recipe. Bones add a lot of flavor to the curry, but if you are not a bone-in chicken person, use boneless chicken cubes.

Spice Powders – Kashmiri red chili powder and turmeric powder are the only two spice powders used in this curry.

Others – You will also need cooking oil, curry leaves, salt, onions, tomatoes, mint leaves, and cilantro (fresh coriander leaves).

Water used to cook the curry can be replaced with chicken stock for added flavor.

Kuzhambu Milgai Thool is a traditional South Indian spice blend, and many traditional recipes have a teaspoon of this spice mix added. If you have access to it, add 1 teaspoon powder along with the other spices, and if not, feel free to skip it, as I did.

You can also add a little garam masala powder or curry powder to this curry for a spicy kick

How To Make Chicken Salna

Make The Salna Paste

Heat 4 tablespoon peanut oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Once the oil is hot, add

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 3-4 Kashmiri dry red chilies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 3-4 green cardamoms
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick

and fry them for 4-5 seconds.

Cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, dry red chilies and whole spices added to hot oil in a pan.

Add

  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2-3 green chilies (slit into half)
  • ¼ cup grated fresh coconut
  • 2 tablespoon white poppy seeds
  • 1-inch piece of ginger (sliced)
  • 6-8 cloves of peeled garlic

and cook until the coconut is lightly browned (2-3 minutes). Stir frequently.

Curry leaves, green chilies, coconut, poppy seeds, ginger and garlic added to the pan.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Roasted ingredients.

Add the cooled mixture to a blender with ½ cup water and make a very fine paste. Scrape the sides of the blender a few times while blending.

Set the ground masala paste aside.

Roasted ingredients added to a blender.
Smooth paste made.

Make The Chicken Salna Curry

Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker on medium-high heat.

Oil heating in a pressure cooker.

Once the oil is hot, add 1 and ½ cups of chopped onions and 15-20 curry leaves and cook until onions turn translucent (4-5 minutes), stirring frequently.

Onions and curry leaves added to the cooker.

Add ½ cup chopped tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Tomatoes added to the cooker.

Add 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and cook for another minute. Stir frequently while cooking.

Chili powder and turmeric powder added to the cooker.

Now add 1 lb (500 g) rinsed and drained bone-in skinless chicken (cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces) and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Chicken added to the cooker.

Add ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) and roughly chopped mint leaves along with the salna paste you made earlier.

Cilantro, mint, salna paste and water  added to the cooker.

Add 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt and mix well.

Tip – Add some water to the blender, remove all the paste sticking to the sides, and then add this water to the cooker to avoid any wastage of the salna paste.

Close the lid of the cooker.

Water and salt added to the cooker.
Lid of the cooker closed.

Cook for 1 whistle on high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove the cooker from the heat and let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid.

Check for salt and add more if required. Serve the salna hot.

Ready chicken salna.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make instant pot chicken salna?

Make the salna paste as mentioned in the recipe below. Press the SAUTE button on the instant pot and follow the steps until salna paste is added. Now add 1 cup of water and close the lid of the pot. Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 6 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. Serve.

How to make chicken salna in a pot over the stovetop?

Follow the recipe until adding the salna paste to the pan. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is tender. Serve.

Are Hyderabadi mirchi ka salan and salna similar?

It is said that salna recipe was influenced by the Hyderabadi salan recipe, but there is no similarity between these two curries. Salan has peanuts added to it while salna is made using poppy seeds and coconut.

Variations

Plain Salna – Plain salna is also called empty salna. To make it, skip adding chicken to the recipe and keep the rest of the recipe the same. It is called plain salna because no chicken or vegetables are added. I have a detailed recipe for Plain Salna here.

Vegetable Salna – Replace chicken with vegetables of your choice to make a vegetarian version of salna.

Storage Suggestions

Chicken Salna will last 3-4 days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Reheat it in a pan or microwave until nice and warm. Add a little water while reheating if you feel the gravy has become slightly thick after refrigeration.

This curry freezes well, too. Cool it completely and freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, reheat, and serve.

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Chicken Salna is a thin and spicy chicken curry from Tamil Nadu, a Southern state of India. It tastes delicious with flaky parotta or steamed rice. Here is how to make it.
5 from 2 votes

Tamil Nadu Style Chicken Salna Recipe

Chicken Salna is a thin and spicy chicken curry from Tamil Nadu, a Southern state of India. It tastes delicious with flaky parotta or steamed rice. Here is how to make it.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

For The Salna Paste

  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 3-4 Kashmiri dry red chilies
  • 1 bay leaf (tejpatta)
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  • 3-4 green cardamoms (hari elaichi)
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 2 green chilies (slit into half)
  • ¼ cup grated fresh coconut (packed)
  • 2 tablespoons white poppy seeds (replace with peanuts or cashew nuts if they are not available)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger (sliced)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (peeled)

For The Curry

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 15-20 curry leaves
  • 1 and ½ cups chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped mint leaves
  • 1 pound bone-in skinless chicken (500 g, cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
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Instructions 

Make The Salna Paste

  • Heat peanut oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, fennel seeds, whole coriander seeds, Kashmiri dry red chilies, bay leaf, black peppercorns, green cardamoms, and cinnamon stick and fry them for 4-5 seconds.
  • Add curry leaves, green chilies, fresh coconut, poppy seeds, ginger, and garlic, and cook until coconut is lightly browned (2-3 minutes). Stir frequently.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  • Add the cooled mixture to a blender with ½ cup of water and make a very smooth paste. Scrape the sides of the blender a few times while blending.
  • Set the ground masala paste aside.

Make The Curry

  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker on medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add onions and curry leaves and cook until onions turn translucent (4-5 minutes), stirring frequently.
  • Add tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add Kashmiri red chili powder and turmeric powder and cook for another minute.
  • Now add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add cilantro, mint leaves, and the salna paste that you made earlier.
  • Add 2 cups of water and salt and mix well.
  • Add some water to the blender and take out all the paste sticking to the sides and then add this water to the cooker to avoid any wastage of the salna paste.
  • Close the lid of the cooker.
  • Cook for 1 whistle on high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cooker from the heat and let the pressure release naturally.
  • Open the lid.
  • Check for salt and add more if needed.
  • Serve hot.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Instant Pot Recipe
Make the salna paste as mentioned in the recipe below. Press the SAUTE button of the instant pot and follow the steps until salna paste is added to the pot. Now add 1 cup of water and close the lid of the pot. Press PRESSURE COOK and set the timer to 6 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. Serve.
This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. I made it in my 3-quart instant pot (or a 3-liter stovetop pressure cooker). If you’re scaling it up, use a bigger instant pot or a pressure cooker. The cooking time will remain the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 421kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 86mg, Sodium: 261mg, Potassium: 660mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 615IU, Vitamin C: 183mg, Calcium: 239mg, Iron: 4mg
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