Chettinad Chicken Curry

Chettinad chicken curry recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
796 Calories
48g Fat
23g Carbs
70g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 796
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 48g 61%
Saturated Fat 13g 66%
Cholesterol 209mg 70%
Sodium 283381mg 12,321%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Protein 70g
Calcium 343mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

From Tamilnadu in South India, Chettinad chicken is a fiery curry. There's no reason why you can't reduce the chilies to suit your palate though. While Chettinad chicken goes perfectly with Dosa or Appams, it tastes equally good with Parathas (pan-fried Indian flatbread) and even plain boiled rice.


  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed/fennel seeds
  • 3 dried red chilies
  • 1 (1-inch) stick cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or sunflower, canola, or ghee)
  • 10 to 15 curry leaves
  • 2 large onions (finely slice)
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped fine)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 pounds chicken (a whole chicken cut into bits or leg or breast pieces)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • Garnish: chopped coriander leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Chettinad chicken curry
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Heat a heavy pan or skillet on a medium flame and roast the poppy, coriander, cumin and fennel seeds, dried red chilies, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and coconut for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from flame and allow to cool. Grind the mixture into a coarse powder in a clean dry coffee grinder.

    Heat a heavy pan
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Mix the ginger and garlic pastes with this powder and keep aside.

    Mix garlic and ginger paste
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. In another deep pan, heat the oil and add the curry leaves. When they stop spluttering, add the sliced onions and fry till they are light brown.

    Heat oil
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Add the spice paste and star anise and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.

    Add spice paste
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  6. Add the tomatoes and chili powder and stir well to mix all the ingredients.

    Add chili powder
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  7. Add the chicken, cover and simmer till it is tender.

    Add chicken
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  8. When the chicken is done add lime juice, mix well and turn off the flame.

    Add lime
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck 
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

    Add garnish
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck