Chicken Chettinad

Have I told you that I enjoy my new kitchen? Well if I haven’t ….I love the space of my kitchen – it makes me feel like a decent chef. I probably should take a picture of my place of inspiration one of these days 🙂 During my holidays, I got two recipe books. These weren’t small recipe books, they were heavy! However, in spite of the overflowing luggage weight, I still brought these recipe books along in K’s carry-on. The recipe for today comes from Camellia Panjabi’s 50 Great Curries of India. I cooked some Chicken Chettinad for dinner. Chettinad is the region in Southern Tamil Nadu from where the Chettiars, the trader and mercantile community of the origin, originate. Chettinad cuisine is hot. This is an ideal dish to be made with chicken drumsticks.


  • Chicken – 2 1/2lb cut as preferred
  • Onion – 1 large chopped
  • Tomato – 3 medium chopped
  • Garlic Paste – 2 tsp
  • Ginger Paste – 2 tsp
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • A few curry leaves
  • Coriander leaves – 1/3 cup
  • Fresh coconut – 1/2lb
  • Fennel seeds – 1tsp
  • Cinnamon – 2inch stick
  • Cardamom – 3
  • Cloves – 4
  • Star anise – 1/2
  • Turmeric powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Garam masala – 3/4tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 3tsp
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste

Grind the coconut with the fennel seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, tumeric and garam masala and form a fine paste.

Heat some oil in a deep pot and saute the onions until soft. Then add the garlic and ginger pastes followed by the red chilli powder, star anise. Saute for a few mins and add the spice paste. Add a little water if required.

When the spice mix comes to a boil, add the chicken pieces and saute for 5mins. Add the tomatoes and allow the chicken to cook until the chicken has absorbed the tomato juice. Next add some water and the required amount of salt. When the chicken is almost done, add the lime juice and curry leaves. Garnish with coriander leaves.


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