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Chettinad Chicken kulambu / Chettinad Chicken curry

Just to share with you……

Chettinad chicken is one of my all time favourites among chicken dishes. Chettinad is a small part in southern tamilnadu which is famous world over for its unique cuisine. The flavour of freshly grinded chillies, coriander and fennel, coconut and all other spices gives it a wonderful taste. Once you taste any chettinad dish you will never forget the taste of it. In today’s version, chicken is simmered in coconut milk and gets its unique flavor from a blend of quite a few spices like fennel seeds, coriander seeds, poppy seeds, pepper corns, cardamoms and cumin to name a few. Bit of preparation goes into the making of this curry and there is no short cut method and if you have the time and the ingredients on hand, only then start to prepare and please don’t compromise with the ingredients if you want that authentic flavor.

Chettinad Chicken curry

Chettinad chicken curry


1. chicken, washed and cut into medium sized pieces – 1 kg
2. small onions, shallots (sambar onions) – 1 cup
3. chopped tomatoes  -1 cup
4. turmeric pwd  – 1/2 tsp
5. curry leaves as needed
6. coconut milk (extract from 1/2 coconut) – 1 cup
7. fresh coriander leaves for garnish
8. Salt to taste
9. oil – 1 tbsp

Make a paste

1. green chillis – 2
2. garlic flakes – 8
3. ginger – 1 inch
4. poppy seeds (soak in warm water for 10 mts)  -  1 tsp

Roast and make a powder

1. pepper corns – 1/2 tsp
2. cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
3. fennel seeds – 3/4 tsp
4. coriander seeds – 1 1/2 tsp
5. dry red chillies – 6 to 8
6. cardamoms – 2
7. cinnamon – 1
8. curry leaves as needed
9. oil – 1/2 tsp


1. Heat little oil and roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, red chillis, cardamoms, cinnamon and curry leaves on medium heat stirring constantly for 2 mts. Remove from fire, cool and grind to a powder.
2. Make a paste of the ginger, garlic, green chillies and poppy seeds. Keep aside.
3. Heat oil in a cooking vessel, add the small onions and curry leaves and saute till transparent.
4. Add the ground paste and cook for a minute before adding the chicken and cook on high heat for approx 4 mts and do stir the chicken once in a while.
5. Reduce to medium heat, add salt, turmeric powder and tomatoes and combine well. Let the chicken cook in this for 4-5 mins uncovered.
6. Now add the coconut milk and transfer the contents to a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 mins or until one whistle. Open lid and combine well.
7. Finally add the ground masala powder and cook for 3 mins. Turn off heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Serve hot with white steamed rice, biryani, chapatis or dosas.

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