Chettinad Chicken Curry

I am vegetarian but have been only for about 20 years. Before that, I was someone who loved chicken and bacon! I loved it so much that a friend took a bet with me that I couldn’t be vegetarian for 3 months – I did it and found it so easy that I just stayed vegetarian – and have no regrets.

I do, though, frequently make chicken or fish for my husband and daughter, who are consummate non-vegetarians! This is one that is (I hear!) finger-looking good.

(that’s my daughter trying to eat the chicken – she couldn’t wait for me to finish taking the photos! lol!)

Chettinad is a region of Tamil Nadu that was populated by the Chettiars, who are a prosperous banking and business community. Chettinad cuisine is typically spicy. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia that summarizes it well:

Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas, and topped with a boiled egg that is usually considered an essential part of a meal. They also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. The meat is restricted to fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken and mutton. Chettiars do not eat beef and pork.

Chettinad Chicken Curry

1 tbsp plain yogurt
3 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp salt

Grind together A and B:
A. Saute in oil till brown – 10 shallots and 3 cloves garlic
B. Saute separately without oil till brown:
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pieces of cardamom
2 cloves
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp peppercorn
2 tbsp coriander seeds

2 bay leaves
1 tsp turmeric
6-8 pieces of chicken (any type of pieces you’d like – I used an assortment of skinless chicken)

Marinate chicken for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
In a little oil, add the bay leaves, ground paste and salt and saute.
Add turmeric and marinated chicken and 1/4 cup water.
Cook till chicken is done.

Enjoy the chicken curry with rice or over idiyappams.


35 Comments Add yours

  1. kamala says:

    The picture looks soooooo real.I too like chettinad curry.Looking yummy


  2. bee says:

    the first pic is adorable. it reminds me of this header pic.


  3. notyet100 says:

    have tried microwave version,,now i knws where to look for real chettinad chicken


  4. ranji says:

    arundathi..i loved ur chettinad curry and also th first pic..its soo adorable and natural:)…


  5. Cham says:

    So cute, the little fingers captured. I am great freak of chettinadu cuisine. The chicken came out perfect!


  6. Srivalli says:

    the first picture looks too cute…lovely dish!


  7. Arundathi says:

    @ kamala – Thanks! 🙂 I hope it looked real enough to eat off the screen!! sometimes i’m like that with photos of chocolate!@ bee – wow – those are really similar – kids are so alike – can’t wait to eat their favorites! 🙂@ notyet – never tried the m/w version – is it easy? i’d love to get that from you some time! @ ranji – thanks! my daughter – couldnt keep her away!@ cham – thanks! i only have the look and the texture to go on, since I won’t taste it. so now i’ve become an expert on the tenderness of fish or chicken just by the look or feel! lol!@ Valli – thanks so much!


  8. Jamie says:

    This looks very good Arundathi. I was going to make butter chicken tonight but maybe I will try this instead. That click of your daughter trying to sneak a taste is too cute. I am sure she enjoyed eating it!


  9. Meera says:

    That chicken looks so good. I loved your daughter’s hand too. Mine does the same!!:-)


  10. Medhaa says:

    This looks so yummy and I normally have lots of curds with chetinaad food since its sppicy for me but relish it a lot.Thank you for dropping by, Please do try the recipes and am glad you like Sindhi food. The potato Dics might be Aloo Took which we normally make with Sindhi Curry but as snack too sometimes. They are really yumm. Where they fried and masalas added on top or cooked. I will be posting that some time soon will let you know.Thank you once again.


  11. Divya Vikram says:

    looks spicy and delicious


  12. shriya says:

    I love chettinad foods. I also recently posted chettinad chicken. Nice pic your daughter’s hand is so cute in that picture.


  13. Maya says:

    Chicken looks lipsmacking good and ur daughters hand even more adorable :)..


  14. Arundathi says:

    jamie – she loved it – thanks. if you do make it, let me know how it turned out.meera – thanks! difficult to keep them away from the food while you’re taking photos! lol!@ medhaa – thats it! aloo took – it was simply superb! i look forward to your post!@ divya – thanks!@ shriya – have to go check out your post too and try it at home…thanks!


  15. Arundathi says:

    @ Maya – thank you! 🙂


  16. remya says:

    love that heavenly combo…idiyaapam with chettinad chicken… love the pic in which ur daughter tries to taste it…


  17. nandita says:

    Love your kiddo’s chubby hand in the pic 🙂I tried a vegetarian chettinad curry buy using mushrooms and potatoes in Madhur Jaffrey’s chicken chettinad curry, turned out way spicier than what we could handle 🙂


  18. Sig says:

    When I saw the title I thought I was in the wrong blog.. 😀 That is some amazing willpower to cook such mouthwatering dishes and not eat it… 🙂 The picture looks great….


  19. Arundathi says:

    @ Remya – Thanks!@ Nandita – now thats a great idea – have to try that so I would at the least know what this tastes like!@ Sig – I know – I used to get tempted by chicken tikka, but never gave in. I’m over that now, don’t even remember what it tasted like! lol! Thanks!


  20. Padmaja says:

    Arundathi!! yummy chicken curry and I can see your daughter can’t wait to taste that delicious chicken. I love her sweet little fingers!!


  21. Pearlsofeast says:

    Great recipe,love to see ur daughter’s cute hand!!!!!The curry looks mouthwatering!!!!!!


  22. maninas says:

    wow – gorgeous looking food and excellent photos! 🙂


  23. Arundathi says:

    @ padmaja – thanks! I’m gonna eat up her fingers one of these days! 😉@ pearls – thank you!! 🙂@ Maninas – thanks!


  24. Ranjani says:

    so you gave up eating meat, just going cold turkey?No pun intended…!!


  25. Raaga says:

    I am the opposite Arundathi – I can even eat if someone really wants me to, but I can’t make it… 🙂


  26. Arundathi says:

    lol @ ranjani – yes! @ raaga – yeah, its a big deal for me to make it as well. but i draw the line at having to taste it!


  27. Bhavani says:

    big hug to cute wih the lil fingers into the food.


  28. Arundathi says:

    yup – can’t keep her hands off the chicken/fish! Not sure how I got such a carnivore on my hands! 🙂


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