Chettinad Chicken Curry – Flavourful Chicken Curry in the Chettinad Style

Serves 4

This is a very flavourful, rich, savoury and very fragrant chicken curry that’s quite different from any other chicken curry you’ve probably had before.  The dish originates in the Chettinad district of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, an area known for its delicious cuisine.  This is not a very spicy dish, but is instead very balanced in flavour and can be enjoyed by everyone!  While there may seem like a lot of ingredients, they’re all ingredients that can be found in a well-stocked kitchen.  The ground pepper add at the end is a signature of the Chettinad district so try to use good quality, roughly ground pepper when possible.  This dish is so good that you’ll be craving it for days after it’s done so let’s get started.

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 Chettinad Chicken Curry- Recipe

Ingredients

For paste:

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½” piece of ginger, chopped
  • 2 green chilies, chopped

For tempering:

  • 1 Tbsp. ghee
  • ¼ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2” stick cinnamon
  • 4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 3 to 4 cloves

For Sautéing:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 strand curry leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground dried red chillies
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin

For cooking:

  • 500g chicken breast, chopped into small pieces
  • ¼ cup thick coconut cream
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped (and more for garnish)

Instructions (Pictorial Below)

  1. Add garlic, ginger and green chilies into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Set aside.
  2. Heat ghee in a large, heavy bottomed non-stick pan over medium-high.  Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and sauté until they start to crackle, 1 minute.
  3. Add cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and sauté until fragrant, 2 minutes.
  4. Add onion, garlic-ginger-green chili paste and salt and sauté until onions are slightly golden.
  5. Add ground turmeric and curry leaves and continue to sautee, 2 minute.
  6. Add chopped tomatoes and combine well.  Add ground dried red chilies, ground coriander and ground cumin and sauté until onions and tomatoes start to break down and become mushy, 5 minutes.
  7. Add chicken and mix well until the masala coats chicken.  Cover and cook until chicken is almost done, 5 – 7 minutes.
  8. Uncover and add thick coconut cream and mix well to incorporate.  Let simmer until chicken is completely cooked, 1 minute.
  9. Add ground pepper, garam masala and coriander leaves and give it a good stir until everything is mixed well together.  Taste test for salt and adjust according to taste.  Turn off stove and let stand a few minutes in order for all the flavours to mingle.

Pictorial

Heat ghee, add mustard and cumin and sauté, 1 minute.  Add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and sauté, 2 minutes.  Add onion, garlic-ginger-green chili paste and salt and sauté until onions are slightly golden.  Add ground turmeric and curry leaves and continue to sautee, 2 minute.

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Add chopped tomatoes, ground dried red chilies, ground coriander and ground cumin and sauté until onions and tomatoes start to break down and become mushy, 5 minutes.

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Add chicken and mix well, cover and cook until chicken is almost done, 5 – 7 minutes.  Uncover, add thick coconut cream, mix well to incorporate, let simmer until chicken is completely cooked, 1 minute.

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Add ground pepper, garam masala and coriander leaves and stir until everything is mixed well together.  Taste test for salt and adjust according to taste.  Turn off stove and let stand a few minutes in order for all the flavours to mingle.

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Serve garnished with coriander leaves and accompanied by cooked rice, roti or naan.  This is a great chicken curry to serve on special occasions or for company.  It has a slightly red colour imparted by the tomatoes and is so fragrant that it presents very well.

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3 thoughts on “Chettinad Chicken Curry – Flavourful Chicken Curry in the Chettinad Style

  1. Pingback: Cooking with the Girls: Red Curry Chicken | The Girls on Bloor

  2. Pingback: Butter Chicken Kothu Roti | Silk Route Chef

  3. Pingback: Chettinad Nandu Masala– Crab Curry in the Chettinad Style | Silk Route Chef

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