Spices are one of the most important ingredients of Indian cuisine. This is especially true in case of south India. The various spices used in south Indian cuisine are generally specific to the region. Chettinad is a district of southern Tamil Nadu region of India and home to a social caste of wealthy businessmen and merchants called the chettiars. This region is famous for one of the spiciest cuisines of India. The use of this special mix of spices is what gives the recipes their names.
I had my first taste of chettinad cuisine on a dinner date with the husband. I generally tend to stick to the classics of Indian restaurant fare like butter chicken or chicken biryani. This one time, the husband suggested me to try chettinad chicken and I am glad he did. I was blown away by the complex yet bold flavors and that led to chettinad chicken becoming one of my all time favorite chicken dishes. I did some research into the history and variations of this classic south Indian recipe and decided to try it at home. I am pretty sure it was the fresh ingredients that I made from scratch, because my recipe came out a lot more flavorful than what I had at the restaurant.
Now I make the chettinad masala and store it in an airtight container for future use.
It is such a simple masala recipe but the taste is completely new to my palate 🙂 and I loved it. Hope you enjoy making this recipe too.
Here are the ingredients and the recipe details.
- 1.5 pound / 0.7 kg Chicken
- 1 cup Red onion (diced)
- 2 Sprigs curry leaves
- 1 Tablespoon Oil
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- ½ cup Ripe tomatoes (diced)
- 1 Bay leaf
- Salt as needed.
Spice powder / Masala
- 2 Tablespoon Coriander seeds
- 1 Sprig Curry leaves
- 6-8 Cardamom / Elaichi
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
- 2 inch Cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
- 8-10 Cloves
- 3 Dried red chili
Serving size 3
Cook time 25 min
Prep time 20 min
Passive time 20 min
Recipe level Intermediate
Spice level 4 (On a scale of 1 to 6)
Shelf life 1 – 2 days in refrigerator using an airtight container
Serving suggestion Warm
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- Dry roast coriander seeds and red chili for 2 min.
- Add black pepper seeds, curry leaves, cardamom, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, fenugreek seeds and cloves. Roast for 2 min.
- Set it aside to cool. Blend to a powder.
- In a deep pot heat oil, add curry leaves and bay leaf.
- Add turmeric powder and diced onions, cook on medium heat until the onions become translucent.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 min.
- Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 min.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of spice powder to the pot, mix well and close the lid. Cook on medium heat for 15-20 min.
- Open the lid and cook on medium high heat for 5 min until the water evaporates.
- Add another sprig of curry leaves to the pot, mix everything and cook for 2 more minutes.
Transfer it to a serving dish.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves if you prefer.
Serve with rice or roti.
- I used peanut oil for this recipe.
- I stored rest of the masala in an air tight container.
Hope you have an amazing day everyone 🙂 !