4 to 5dried red chilies (refer notes , substitute - 1 tsp red chili powder)
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 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.