Chicken Chettinad

We often get nostalgic thinking about the time we spent in Hyderabad post our marriage in 2010. When we were starting a new chapter, it was comfortable to be in a city as relaxed and peaceful as Hyderabad. We made new friends, learned salsa dance on weekends, set up our house including our kitchen, and grew our passion for eating-out and cooking. One thing that we sorely miss is the awesome hyderabadi food

If you live in north India, your perception of south Indian food is primarily about the dosas, sambhar and the chutneys of the world. However, there is so much more to South Indian cuisine which we learnt in Hyderabad. So we decided to start cooking with one of the most popular chicken South Indian dishes - Chicken Chettinad. Although it is not from Hyderabad (it is supposed to be from Tamil Nadu), it had to be the first dish we try given its popularity. This is an explosion of spices, with chicken cooked in a coconut-based gravy. Serve this with crisp or steamed dosas and dare we say - you may forget Butter Chicken (even if for a short while !!)

Ingredients - Bring out your pens and paper people and start writing

For marinating chicken
1/2 kg chicken with bone
1 tsp chicken masala powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp degi mirch powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp hung curd / yogurt

For making the masala
6 medium sized onions
1/2" ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 green chillies, de-seeded (or not if you like the spice!)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp poppy seeds

For direct cooking
3 tbsp white butter (oh, yes!!)
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup coconut milk 
Garam Masala mix: fennel seeds (1/4 tsp), cloves (2-3), cinnamon powder (1/4 tsp), bay leaves (2), curry leaves (7-8), cardamom (2-3), dry red chillies (2)

Method - Man these Indian curries are tough!

1. Carefully wash the chicken and marinate for about 1 hour at least
Note: Make sure the chicken is completely dry before adding the marination mixture. Use a paper towel to dry, if required. This allows for a better marination and for the flavour to be absorbed

2. Prepare the main masala by grinding all the ingredients together to form a coarse but uniform paste

3. Heat the butter in a non-stick pan / kadhai

4. Keep at medium-high flame and add all the ingredients of the garam masala to start tempering them
Note: Keep the heat optimum to ensure the spices don't burn. We've learnt this the hard way, so please be careful

5. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes

6. Add the chopped onions and cook for another 5 minutes till they are translucent. At this point, you may increase the heat to 'high'

7. Add the tomatoes and cook the mixture for another 5 minutes or till the veggies are cooked and the onion starts to separate from butter

8. Now add the ground mixture and cook for about 10 minutes till everything is uniformly cooked.

9. Add the marinated chicken pieces along with the marinate and mix properly. At this point, you may want to add a bit of turmeric / degi mirch if the colour is not appropriate.
Note: You can take out the bay leaves and the dry red chillies before adding the chicken

10. Add the coconut milk and cover the pan with a lid and let cook on slow flame for about 15 minutes

11. Open the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes till the masala has dried and the chicken is tender. 

TADA !! The awesomely aromatic and flavour Chettinad Chicken is ready. The best way to eat this is with a crisp or steamed dosa. We made both and relished it equally. This seems like quite an effort, but is completely worth every minute of cooking!! Yummma

Adapted from the recipe by Spicy Treats



Like us on Facebook !


About the Authors

This blog is from the kitchen of Neha Gupta and Mridul Karkara. We go about our days pretending to be HR Managers and Business Consultants respectively, though in reality, just thinking about our next big meal! This food blog is a representation of our experiments in the kitchen and for the simple joy of cooking and sharing!

See About Us for contact details.

All content on this blog, including the photography and written text, recipes, ingredients, method are my work, owned by Mridul Karkara and Neha Gupta, which means it iscopyrighted with © All Rights Reserved.Links and short excerpts of the post can be used with credit and a link back to the blog. Recipes - Ingredients and method, Photographs CANNOT be reproduced or copied in any form.