Zesty Chettinad Chicken

Chettinad Chicken
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

Chilli Chettinad is a spicy, flavorful, and hearty chicken dish from the southern Indian area of Chettinad. Dry or gravy versions are also acceptable. In India’s Tamil Nadu state, the Chettinad area, a blazing spicy chicken dish known as Chicken Chettinad is served. This chicken curry is a favorite not just in India, but also across the globe. In this meal, the fresh-ground spices (Chettinad masala) make it enticing, giving it a unique taste. Kalpasi, Gundu Chilies, and South Asian shallots are among the traditional components. This dish’s earthy and powerful taste comes from the combination of these three unusual ingredients.

Chettinad cuisine or Chettinad chicken curry is revered among Indian food connoisseurs for its assertiveness, taste, and wholesomeness. Although largely inspired by East Asian cuisine, it’s milder than other Indian subcontinental cuisines. Travelers and traders from Burma, Sumatra, and Java introduced a wide variety of spices and methods to the region, which are still used today.

The Chettinad chicken recipe may be made using bone-in thighs or boneless chicken breasts, depending on your preference. Both offer a great deal of flavor and texture to the final product. Indian restaurants are known for serving Chettinad, one of the most popular chicken meals. It’s also one of the most intensely flavorful and luscious stews you’ll ever have the pleasure of sampling. Despite the lengthy list of ingredients, most of the spices can be found at your local grocery store. Make sure that the spices you are using are as fresh as possible since this dish relies heavily on spices.

Your Ingredients at a Glance 


In this recipe, the star is unquestionably the chicken! It’s an excellent source of protein, making it an excellent addition to your daily diet. To get the most flavor out of the bones, use chicken that has been deboned.

Chettinad Chicken Masala

For the onion tomato foundation, the freshly ground Chettinad masala and fresh coconut give this meal its unique flavor. Fresh coconut balances out the heat and spice of the Chettinad masala well.
Shallots, Gundu chilies, and kalpasi are the three primary components needed to prepare a genuine Chettinad masala. 

Additional Ingredients 

You’ll also need a selection of seeds we’ll mention in the recipe card, curry leaves, cardamom, and cinnamon, among other ingredients.

Chettinad Chicken Cooking Tips

  • This dish is traditionally made using Gundu chilies. If you can’t find any, use whatever dried red chilies you have on hand. It’s good to utilize Kashmiri red chili, since they are moderate in flavor and give the curry a bright red color.
  • Deseed  chilies if you like a milder curry.
  • Kalpasi is a key ingredient in the traditional Chettinad chicken recipe. Add a large pinch of it to the remaining whole spices if you can, for a taste that is both earthy and unusual.
  • Indian Shallots may be substituted for red onions. 

What You’ll Need

  • 1 kg Chicken 
  • 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons of coriander
  • Salt 
  • 3 Teaspoons of vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons of oil
  • 5 Curry leaves 
  • 2 Teaspoons of coriander seeds
  • 2 Teaspoons of fennel seeds
  • Cumin, preferably a teaspoon
  • Poppy seeds, preferably 2 teaspoons
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • 4 Cardamom
  • Cinnamon 
  • A dozen of red chilies, preferably the dried variation 
  • A cup of grated coconut 
  • Black peppercorns to taste
  • 2 Cups of diced onion
  • A teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste 
  • A teaspoon of turmeric powder 
  • Sliced jalapenos, preferably 4 large ones
  • 2 Cups of sliced tomatoes 
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of red chili powder

Method on How to Make Chettinad Chicken

  • Mix the chicken with 1 tsp salt and vinegar, and allow that to sit for about half an hour before cooking.
  • 2 Tablespoons of oil must be heated in a pan.
  • Stir in 2 curry leaves, 8-10 dried red chilies, your seeds, and 8 sprigs of coriander seeds to the hot oil.
  • Fry until the outside is slightly browned and the scent begins to fill the air, and you have the perfect Chettinad chicken fry.
  • Fry for 3-4 minutes with 12 cups of finely chopped onion and 14 cups of  shredded coconut.
  • Add the paste of ginger and garlic and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  • To produce a smooth paste, cool the ingredients and mash it in a grinder. During the grinding process, add some water.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of oil to the pan.
  • Add the remaining onion and curry leaves, a few sprigs at a time.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Spice it up with turmeric, red chili powder, and a pinch of salt.
  • Toss in the tomato and cook for a few minutes.
  • Add the ground and roasted paste.
  • Cook for one more minute after adding a cup of water.
  • A glass of water and some chicken should be added to the pot, then covered and simmered until the chicken is done.
  • Mix the lime juice and coriander leaves, and saute for a few seconds more.
  • Serve with delicious naan. The naan should be piping hot by the way!

How to Store Chettinad Chicken Curry

When kept in an airtight container, chicken chettinad will keep in the fridge for up to two days. When you’re ready to eat your Chettinad chicken, use a skillet or microwave to heat it to your desired temperature. 


Can we use desiccated coconut instead of fresh coconut to make Chettinad chicken?

Yes, you may certainly use desiccated coconut to make Chettinad chicken.

What substitutes for chicken can you use when making this cuisine?

Chettinad recipes made with prawns or fish may be made using the same method. The cooking times for these non-vegetarian items will vary from that of the chicken, so keep a watchful eye on them! Any of these might turn rubbery and chewy if overcooked. Paneer or tofu may also be used as a chicken substitute. Add them to the gravy after it’s done cooking.