Chicken chettinad gravy recipe
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.
Chicken chettinad is one of the most flavorful chicken dishes from the South Indian cuisine. It is said to be the most ordered in the Indian restaurants.
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.
More similar chicken gravy recipes
Simple chicken curry
You can serve this with ghee rice, simple jeera rice, mint or pudina pulao.
Preparation for chicken chettinad
1. On a low flame dry roast coriander and dried 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 or 8 whole cashew nuts or roasted gram. When the poppy seeds turn crisp. Transfer to a plate.
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. I did not use red chilies to make my chettinad masala since my kids cannot eat hot foods. Saute 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.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 500 grams chicken (or ½ kg) (bone-in is best)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup onions (chopped finely, 1 large onion)
- 1 to 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 1½ cups tomatoes (finely chopped or pureed, 2 medium)
- 1 bay leaf
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon curd or yogurt (helps to keep the chicken soft)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (or 4 garlic cloves + 1 inch ginger)
- ½ teaspoon Salt
Chettinad masala (roast and grind)
- 1 tablespoon Poppy seeds (or 8 whole cashew nuts or 1 tbsp roasted chana dal)
- ¼ cup coconut (grated, fresh or frozen)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon pepper corn
- 4 to 5 dried red chilies (refer notes , substitute – 1 tsp red chili powder)
- 3 green cardamoms (elaichi)
- 4 cloves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 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 cardamoms, jeera, fennel seeds, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Roast till cloves smell good & the spices turn slightly dark but not burnt.
- Next add cashews or 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, adding more water as required. Set aside the masala in a small bowl.
- In the same jar, grind tomatoes to smooth puree. You can also use chopped tomatoes.
How to Make Chicken Chettinad
- Heat oil in a pan, add bay leaf and onions. Fry till the onions turn translucent to golden.
- Transfer the chicken and fry for at least 4 to 5 mins on a medium high heat.
- 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 the chicken is fully cooked. It should be fork tender and soft.
- The gravy becomes thick by then. If not cook without a lid and evaporate some water. If your gravy is too thick, pour more hot water. Cook till the chicken gravy thickens and reaches the right curry consistency. Optionally garnish with fried curry leaves.
- Serve chicken chettinad gravy with rice or phulka.
- Authentic Chettinad chicken looks dark brown in color and is just normal due to the deep roasting of spices. The curry in my pictures looks lighter in color since I did not use red chilies to make the chettinad masala.
- Dried red chilies can sometimes make or break the dish. If you don’t have an idea of how spicy your chilies are, simply use red chilli powder. I often find dried red chilies to be too spicy and not kids friendly, so prefer to use red chili powder.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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Hello, I am going to make this next week as part of a larger menu and wanted to know how far in advance I can make the masala part (roasting the spices etc)
The ground spice paste can be refrigerated for a week. Hope you all enjoy!
Thank you for replying – that’s great to know! Sorry but another question – I can’t see how long you marinade the chicken for – I think I must have missed that bit – are you please able to advise? Thank you!
Paula, 15 to 20 mins is good enough. But if you have time you can leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
That’s brilliant! So grateful for your reply! Thank you
Aroma is that good Neighbours are knocking on the door.
Hehe! So good to know that! Thanks for trying Alex.
My go to recipe for chettinad
Can I get exact measurements for the recipe. Eg how much chicken to use. How many onions and how many tomatoes to be used.
Please scroll down the post to find the recipe card. I have all the ingredient quantities there.
One of the best chicken gravies! So flavorful and authentic!
Tried it out today, it was amazing
Thank you so much Chandana
Hello Swasthi, I would like to try this recipe. I have a question. I am in the US and Onion and tomatoes size vary quite a bit. Can you share how many grams of tomatoes and onions to add in this recipe? or you can also tell me how many cups if that is easier. Thank you.
Yes I understand. Use 1 cup chopped onions and 1½ cup chopped tomatoes (pureed later).
Thank you for your quick response.
Hi Swati….what should I use for getting best and authentic taste ..poppy seeds, cashew or roasted gram? I have all three. Want to use the one that gives beat taste…please advise
Hi, Use poppy seeds
Amazing recipe. Thank you so much.
Am planning to make this 3x. The original recipe turned awesome. But i wanted to know what needs to lessened and how much in roasted masala when we use 3x chicken. I assume some of the ingredients will change the taste if i just add them 3x?
Cutdown the ginger garlic paste to 2 tbsps and cloves to 9 to 10. If using chilli powder and not dried chilies, it will be 3 tsps for the masala. Hope this helps
Thanks a lot for the fast reply. Gonna try it today afternoon 😊
Swasthi I like your transparent guidance. Rare to find.
Thank you so much Augustus
hi Swasthi, going to make this curry tomorrow. qq – what oil should i use?
I have a few questions. What kind of red chiles did you use and what color poppy seeds did you use? I would be very grateful if you could let me know!
In this pictures I have not used red chilies. I have mentioned that in the stepwise pic instructions. You need some mild red chilies like Kashmiri or byadgi that won’t add up much heat but impart a good red color. You can simply substitute them with red chilli powder as I did. Hope this helps
Sorry I meant what is normally used! One last thing, should the chilies be dried or fresh?
Dani, use dried red chilies. I have a similar recipe where I show the spices, you may want to check it here – chettinad egg curry
Okay! Thank you so much!
It was a pleasure making this recipe! I will continue to look through your recipes for dishes to cook. Thank you for sharing with us!
Glad to know Krupa
When you triple the recipe , do you triple the ingredients too. If we add 3 inch cinnamon or 12 cloves will it be too much . Please suggest. Thank you
Cut down the ginger garlic, cinnamon and cloves a bit.
It was awesome.Thank you very much
Glad to know Anu
Whenever I want to cook something new and delicious, I search for Swasthi recipes. Have tried so many dishes from here and none of the dishes has gone wrong. Your page makes me try to new dishes everyday. I recommend ur website to everyone.
Thank you so much Nandini
Happy to know!
I’m gonna save this recepie for everytime im making chicken gravy. So yummy❤️
Hi Swasthi Garu,
Tried this chicken recepie today…trust me the outcome was very delicious…
Thank you once again… Your recepies are always on top of my list and you are my familie’s favorite…
So happy to know you all like the recipes. Thank you so much for leaving a comment.
Hi Swasthi, amazing recipes. Have recently started my hands at cooking and super helpful your recipes. The Hyderabadi biryani, both mutton and chicken turned out so great. Thank you so much.
I have a quick question on this chicken chettinad recipe. The grated coconut- can we use fresh coconut?
Glad to know! Thank you! Yes use fresh grated coconut.