Chicken Chettinad is one of the best tasty, spicy, and aromatic South Indian curry dishes from Chettinad Cuisine, Tamilnadu. This curry also called Kuzhambu is traditionally prepared with freshly ground Chettinad masala powder that makes the dish aromatic and flavorful. The recipe I have shared here shows you how to make an authentic Chettinad Chicken with easy step-by-instructions with video. This Chicken Chettinad gravy is a perfect side dish for biryani, parotta, roti, idli, dosa, or rice dishes such as white rice, basmati rice and can be made in the instant pot or pan.
What is Chicken Chettinad?
Chettinad Chicken is an authentic side dish that has its origin from the Chettinad cuisine of Tamilnadu. The gravy is usually prepared with freshly ground Chettinad masalas like Kalpasi, star anise, javitri, cumin, coriander seeds, gundu chilies, and coconut. Most importantly the curry is cooked with sesame oil which gives a hearty flavor and taste to the dish.
While there are tons of chicken curries enjoyed by all of us across the globe, this Chettinad Chicken Gravy/kuzhambu is unique for its aroma and taste. And it all comes from the special blend of Chettinad chicken masala powder. And it is usually served for lunch and dinner.
As a result, this traditional Chettinad Chicken got popular in Indian states and across the globe. It is one of the signature chicken dishes of Chettinad cuisine restaurants and you could find the same as a prime side dish in their menu cards as well. After all, our taste buds deserve this kind of delicious food once in a while, right?
Here is what you will need for this recipe:
- Whole Spices - Bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, javitri, cumin& fennel seeds, kalpasi, peppercorn, corianader seeds, and dry red chili. These ingredients are dry roasted and made into powder that gives unique aroma and taste to the dish
- Sesame Oil - It gives the authentic rustic and earthy flavor to the gravy
- Onion and Tomato - Act as the base for the curry
- Curry Leaves - Gives an unique fresh aroma and taste to the dish. Dont miss out this herbs and really spruce up your curry
How to make Chicken Chettinad?
The recipe I have shared here is the authentic Chettinad Chicken that requires roasting and grinding of masalas. And the quantity yields to 4 people. In this section, let us discuss how to make the traditional Chettinad Chicken recipe easily at home. The process is not so lengthy and even beginners can master this dish at home. And it is ultimately worth trying and you can skip a ride to restaurants to taste this finger-licking dish.
To give an overall idea, the following are the steps involved in making this spicy chicken gravy.
- Preparation of Chettinad masala powder
- Preparation of Chettinad chicken curry/gravy
1. Preparation of Chettinad Masala Powder
- Roast the Spices - Add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, kalpasi, javitri, cumin, fennel, coriander seeds, and dry red chilies in a pan with medium heat. Roast all the spices until it turns aromatic. Roasting in medium heat will help the spices to avoid burning and avoid an unwanted intense bitter taste to the curry.
- Add Coconut - Mix in the coconuts and roast until it turns aromatic
- Blend - Transfer the spice mixture to the blender and make it to a fine powder and reserve it for later use
Note: I have used long dry red chilies and a few byadgi chilies as the gundu varieties were not handy to me. I added the byadgi chilies only to give a glowing red look to my curry. You could also use it if you want to have the same. And always feel free to adjust the red chilies count to balance the heat according to your family's needs.
2. Preparation of Chicken Chettinad
- Seasoning - In a pan with medium heat, add the cumin, fennel seeds, peppercorn, curry leaves and allow them to sizzle.
- Saute onion - Saute the onions until it turns soft.
- Add in Spice Powders - Include ginger garlic paste, chili, turmeric, and prepared Chettinad masala powder, and give a nice mix
- Cook Tomatoes - Add in the tomatoes and allow them to turn mushy
- Add in the Chicken - Now mix in the chicken and give a good mix
- Close and Cook - Close the pan with the lid and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. After that time, open the lid and added water, and again cook the chicken until it turns tender (Since l like my curry to be slightly thick, I cooked the curry in medium heat for some more time. If you like to have the curry to be flowing, then you can switch off the heat before it starts to thicken)
- Garnish and Serve - Finally, garnish the gravy with curry leaves and switch off the heat
Cheers! that's it, now the Chettinad Chicken Gravy is ready for us to taste and enjoy. I have served this curry with parotta and it goes best with white rice and Biryani recipes as well.
Chettinad Chicken in Instant Pot
This Chettinad chicken gravy/kuzhambu can be prepared in under 30 minutes and yes it is really that quick.
- Roast Spices - To make this curry, dry roast all the spices in sauté mode until it turns aromatic. Now add the coconut and give a quick saute until it releases its aroma
- Blend - Now press the cancel button and remove everything and ground it to a powder in a blender
- Seasoning - Following that, add oil, add the seasonings as mentioned in the pan method and allow them to sizzle in sauté mode
- Saute Onion - Sauté the onions until it turns soft
- Cook Tomato- Add the tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, masala powder, chili powder, salt, and chicken. Give a good mix, and water to the chicken mixture
- Pressure Cook - Close the lid and switch the setting to pressure cook and set the time to 5 minutes
- Release the Pressure - Once the instant pot beeps, allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Garnish and Serve - Open the lid and garnish the gravy with curry leaves. Yes, that's it! And it's time to taste the delicious Chettinad Chicken Curry instant pot version with your favorite combos.
This Chettinad chicken curry is one of the best side dishes when you really crave spicy chicken recipes. And I hope you will try this dish with your family and loved ones and enjoy it.
Chettinad Chicken is a spicy and appetizing treat that has a lot of variations. Although the traditional Chettinad chicken curry is made with ground Chettinad masala powder with coconut, you could also make the dish without it.
- Skip Coconuts - All you need to do is just skip coconut while roasting the spices. It is totally fine if coconut is not handy or you really don't want to use it either. And it does have a slight change in the flavor but it tastes delicious too
- Green Chilies and Cashew Nuts - In Karaikudi, a town in the Chettinad region, there is a similar version of this curry, where the recipe includes green chilies and cashew nuts
- Dry or Fry Form - You could also make this Chettinad Chicken curry in the form of dry and fry. One such popular dry or fry dish in the region is Chicken Sukka and Chicken Vindaloo is a similar kind of dish but with unique tartness and spicy taste notes. And it is definitely worth trying these delicious side dishes at home
- Add store brought Masala Powder - Yes, you could directly add all the Chettinad spices while seasoning. and store brought masala powder. This will definitely save some time required for roasting and grinding masala.(At times, I prepare this style of curry to speed up the process yet without compromising the taste and flavor). And this quicker version of Chettinad chicken curry makes life easier when it is done in an Instant Pot.
This Chettinad Chicken Curry/Kuzhambu can be a perfect side dish for Biryani, parotta, chapati, idli, dosa, Appam, white rice, and basmati rice. And it tastes great when served along with Biryani Rice, Chicken Biryani, Ambur Biryani, and similar dishes.
- Chicken Curry
- Butter Chicken
- Chicken Korma
- Egg Curry
- Pepper Chicken
- Chicken Chinthamani
- Chicken Ghee Roast
- Andhra Chilli Chicken
- Mutton Chukka
Looking for different biryani and chicken recipes to cook for your next meal or a party? Then you could also check this collection of Best Biryani Recipes and Indian Chicken Dry and Semi Gravy Recipes to enjoy with your family and loved ones.
Chettinad Chicken Recipe video
I have also shared detailed video instructions for the Chettinad chicken curry recipe below that I hope will help you to prepare this flavorful gravy at home. You could also find this recipe in story format for a quick reference.
For Chettinad Masala Powder
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 4 Cinnamon Stick, small
- 4 Cloves
- 1 Star Anise
- 1 Javitri, small
- 2 Kalpasi Flower
- 9 Dry Red Chillies
- ¼ cup Coriander Leaves
- 1 tsp Fennels Seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- ¼ cup Coconut, shredded
- ¼ cup Sesame Oil
- 2.25 lb Chicken
- 1 tsp Fennels Seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Peppercorn
- 2 sprig Curry Leaves
- 1 Onion, sliced
- 2 Tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Chilli Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- Salt, as needed
- 1 cup Water
To Prepare Chettinad Masala Powder
- In a pan with medium heat, add bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, javitri, kalpasi, dry red chilies, coriander, fennel, and cumin seeds. Saute until it turns aromatic without burning them
- Now switch the heat to low and add the shredded coconut and saute until it turns fragrant
- Transfer the mixture to the blender and grind it to a smooth powder. And reserve it for later use
To Prepare Chettinad Chicken Curry | Gravy
- In a pan with medium heat, pour oil and add fennel, cumin seeds, peppercorn, curry leaves and saute until it turns aromatic
- Now add onions and saute until it turns soft
- Add the ginger-garlic paste, chili, turmeric, and the prepared Chettinad masala powder and give it a nice mix
- Now add the tomatoes and saute until it turns mushy
- Add the chicken, salt and combine everything well
- Close the pan with the lid and cook the chicken for 7 to 10 minutes
- Open the lid and give a quick mix and add water
- Now again close the pan with the lid and cook the chicken for another 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to tender
- Open the lid and garnish with curry leaves and simmer the chicken curry until it leaves oil from its sides and now the Chettinad Chicken Curry is ready for you to taste and enjoy
- Serve this delicious Chettinad Chicken gravy/curry with biryani, white rice, parotta, chapati, idli, dosa, and similar dishes
Chef's Notes and Tips
- The main step to achieve an authentic Chettinad Chicken is to roast the Chettinad masala spices to the right consistency and make sure not to burn them which will deliver a bitter taste to the curry
- The traditional Chettinad chicken curry is made with sesame oil which gives a unique flavor and taste to the dish and I would suggest to stick with it to enjoy the same
- Adding curry leaves while seasoning and garnishing with it at the end delivers a unique aroma to this Chettinad Chicken
- I have used a regular pan to make this Chettinad Chicken gravy and you could also make it in a pressure cooker and an instant pot
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Chettinad Chicken curry is a famous South Indian side dish from Chettinad cuisine of Tamilnadu state. It is usually prepared with fresh Chettinad masala powders and Indian herbs that make them unique from other dishes. it is usually served for lunch and dinner as a side dish for Briyani, parotta, chapati, idli, dosa, white rice, and dishes alike.
Yes, you can skip the coconut while roasting the spices and prepare this dish.
You could always reduce the dry red chili count to adjust the spice level according to your needs.
Yes, even though the traditional spicy Chettinad chicken gravy is prepared with sesame oil which gives a unique flavor and taste to the dish, you could also prepare it with other cooking oils like canola, coconut, and groundnut oils.
I really hope you enjoyed the recipe that I have shared here and I would love to hear from you on how it turned out for you. Please let me know.
If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.