Chicken Chettinad (South Indian)


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(6 Ratings)

Preparation time
30 mins

Cooking time
30 mins


I adapted this recipe from my father, who taught me this dish years ago. It’s a spicy, wonderfully fragrant dish. The trick is to use freshly ground spices. The sauce is so good, it can be eaten with only rice or roti.

Chicken Chettinad (South Indian), 4.5 out of 5 based on 6 ratings


  • Approx. 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • 1 large cinnamon stick or 2 small sticks
  • 3-4 cloves
  • A pinch of cumin seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 whole onion, chopped

  • 2.5 to 3.0 pounds of chopped chicken thighs with bones
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 2-4 chopped fresh chili pepper
  • ½ cup curry leaves, torn and separated

  • For spice mix, grind the following in a blender or spice grinder:
  • 2 tablespoons coriander
  • A pinch of cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper


1. Heat large pan with oil over medium heat. Add cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cumin seeds, and bay leaves. Stir, then add onions. Stir until onions are golden brown.

2. Add chicken, turmeric, salt, chili powder, and 3/4 of the grounded spice mix (see ingredients section above) and cook for approximately 5 minutes.

3. Add 1 cup of water to pan, close with lid, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

4. Add ginger, garlic, chili pepper, and remainder of spice mix. Finally, add another 1/4 cup of water and let the dish simmer until chicken is tender. Add crispy curry leaves. Take off heat. Serve with rice.

One Comment add one

  1. fahm says:

    I still crave Shila’s chettinad after trying it a year ago. I haven’t had better chettinad since, even after a foodie trip to India for two weeks this year.

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