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Chettinad Chicken


Chettinad Chicken
Image © 2014 Petrina Verma Sarkar, licensed to About.com
From Tamilnadu in South India, Chettinad Chicken is a fiery curry. There's no reason why you can't reduce the chillies to suit your own 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 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp aniseed/fennel seeds
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 1" piece of cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 2 tsps ginger paste
  • 2 tsps garlic paste
  • 2-3 tbsps vegetable/sunflower/canola oil or ghee
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 2 large onions sliced fine
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tomatoes chopped fine
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 kg chicken (you can use a whole chicken cut into bits or leg or breast pieces)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsps lime juice
  • Chopped coriander leaves to garnish


  • Heat a heavy pan or skillet on a medium flame and roast the poppy, coriander, cumin and fennel seeds, dry red chillies, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and coconut for 3-4 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 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and chilli 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.
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