Chettinad Chicken Curry


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.

Prep: 15 mins

Cook: 20 min

Recipe Serving: 4


  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed/fennel seeds
  • 3 red chilies (dry)
  • 1 stick cinnamon (1 inch)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 cup coconut (grated)
  • 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 (sliced fine)
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped fine)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 kilogram chicken (you can use a whole chicken cut into bits or leg or breast pieces)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • Garnish: chopped coriander leaves


  • Heat a heavy pan or skillet on a medium flame and roast the poppy, coriander, cumin and fennel seeds, dry 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.
  • Mix the ginger and garlic pastes with this powder and keep aside.
  • 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.
  • Add the spice paste and star anise and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and chili powder and stir well to mix all the ingredients.
  • Add the chicken, cover and simmer till it is tender.
  • When the chicken is done add lime juice, mix well and turn off the flame.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.