Chicken Chettinad

Chicken Chettinad is popular dish that originates from the South India. This delicious, spicy curry is prepared with freshly ground coconut along with few spices. Best served with hot rice.

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Serves 4-6

  • 2 lb (~1 kg) chicken, cut as prefered
  • ½ cup fresh coconut, shreded or desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 green cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • ¼ star anise
  • ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp garlic pasre
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 3 medium topatoes, chopped
  • 4 curry leaves
  • juice of ½ lime/ lemon
  • salt to taste
  • coriander leaves to garnish

How to make Chicken Chettinad:

  1. On the griddle toast the poppy seeds for a few minutes until light brown. Crush with a rolling pin, then soak in a little water for 15 minutes.
  2. Grind the coconut together with the poppy and fennel seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and turmeric to make a fine paste.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and fry until golden brown.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic paste, cook for 2 minutes stirring.
  5. Add the star anise and red chili powder.
  6. Add prepared earlier cocounut and spice paste mixture. Sauté for 5 minutes on low medium heat.
  7. Add the chicken pieces, salt and sauté chicken for 5-7 minutes stiring ocasionally so it will not stick to the pan.
  8. Add the tomatoes. Sauté for 5 minutes. Then add 2 cups water and mix well. Cook uncovered until the chicken is tender.
  9. When almost done add the lime juice and curry leaves. Just before serving sprinkle with the coriander leaves.


  • The chicken is always cut in small pieces ont the bone - about 12 pieces from a chicken. This is ideal dish to make using chicken drumstics.

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