Chicken chettinad gravy recipe – South India’s most flavorful dish made with chicken, fresh ground spices & herbs. Based on the authentic chettinad chicken recipe many modern versions have been derived, especially by the restaurateurs. Over the years, I got to taste a few which almost tasted same except the texture, color and the hint of spices.
The recipe shared here is the one I felt close to the restaurant style chettinad chicken gravy. After several trials I arrived at this and can say this is one of the best flavorful and delicious chicken gravy.
This recipe is roughly adapted from a cook book. To make chicken chettinad, a unique blend of spices is deep roasted and ground. This spice blend brings in a great essence to the dish.
There is also a chettinad chicken varuval recipe on the blog, which is a dry chettinad style chicken fry.
Chicken chettinad recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 500 grams chicken (or ½ kg) (bone-in is best)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion large, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 tomatoes medium, (pureed) (or chopped finely)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp curd or yogurt (helps to keep the chicken soft)
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste (or 4 garlic cloves + 1 inch ginger)
- Salt as needed
Chettinad masala (roast and grind)
- 1 tbsp Poppy seeds (or pottukadalai or 6 to 8 cashews)
- ¼ cup coconut grated
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ¾ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp pepper corn
- 4 to 5 red chilies (or 1 tsp red chili powder)
- 3 green cardamoms (or elaichi)
- 4 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
How to make the recipe
- Add chicken, turmeric, chili powder, curd,salt and ginger garlic paste to a bowl. Marinate the chicken and set aside.
- On a low flame, dry roast coriander seeds and red chilies. When the coriander seeds begin to smell good, add elaichi, jeera, saunf, pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Roast till cloves smell good.
- Next add poppy seeds. Quickly toss. Make sure not to burn the masala. You can also set these aside to a plate before adding coconut.
- Add coconut and fry until the coconut smells good.
- Cool all these. Add them to a blender jar and pour little water. Make a smooth paste. Set aside the masala to a small bowl.
- In the same jar, grind tomatoes to smooth. You can also use chopped tomatoes.
Making chicken chettinad
- Heat oil in a pan, add bay leaf and onions. Fry till they turn translucent to golden.
- Transfer the chicken and fry for at least 4 to 5 mins.
- Add tomatoes, turmeric, salt and chili powder (if using). Mix well and fry till the oil begins to separate.
- Then add the ground paste and curry leaves. Fry for 2 to 3 mins.
- Pour 1 ¼ cup water. I use hot water. Using cold water sometimes toughens the chicken. Cover and cook till it is fully done, soft and tender.
- The gravy becomes thick by then. If not cook without a lid and evaporate some water. Pour more water if needed to get the desired consistency. Cook till the chicken gravy thickens. Garnish with fried curry leaves.
- Serve chicken chettinad gravy with rice or phulka.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
1. On a low flame dry roast coriander and red chilies first. When you smell the coriander seeds good, then add saunf, cumin, pepper corn, cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon.
2. When they begin to smell good, add poppy seeds. When the poppy seeds turn crisp. Transfer to a plate if you desire.
3. Roast coconut until it smells good. Cool all of these and blend to a smooth paste. Add water just as needed. Transfer the paste to a bowl.
4. In the same blender, add tomatoes and puree. This is optional and can use tomatoes as such chopped finely.
5. Marinate chicken with turmeric, chilli powder, curd, ginger garlic paste and salt.
How to make chicken chettinad
6. Heat a pan with oil and bay leaf. Add onions and fry till transparent to golden. Golden gives a good taste to the gravy, since i cooked in a stainless steel pan, they don’t turn to golden.
7. Add chicken and fry for about 4 to 5 minutes. The raw smell of the ginger garlic has to go away.
8. Add tomatoes.
9. I used red chili powder just for the color. Add the tomato puree, red chili powder, salt and turmeric as well.
10. On a medium flame, fry till the mixture begins to leave oil. This takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chettinad masala paste and curry leaves. Fry again for 2 to 3 minutes.
11. Add water as needed.
12. Cook covered till the chicken is fully cooked, soft and tender. I garnished with fried curry leaves.
Serve chicken chettinad with rice or phulka.