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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken Chettinad

IMG_9376I fell in love with the fiery Chettinad cuisine in Bangalore. There my restaurant of choice was Nandini Palace. When I moved to Hyderabad I had no trouble finding great chettinad food their either. Malgudi being my fav. Interestingly this is one of the few things that I didn’t have to compromise when I moved to the US. Our local Indian restaurant Mayuri can churn out Chettinad food with equal ease. When the waitress asks “low, medium or high” you need to coyly say “super-high please” and get ready for mouth throbbing, head numbing, sinusitis curing chicken chettinad to arrive.


  1. 1 kg cut chicken on bone
  2. Whole garam masala
    1. 3,4 Cardamom
    2. 5,6Clove
    3. 1"cinnamon
  3. 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  4. 1 tsp. whole black mustard seeds
  5. 2 medium onions thinly sliced
  6. 2 tbsp. Ginger+garlic paste
  7. 2 tomatoes coarsely chopped
  8. Handful curry leaves
  9. 7-8 (or more :) ) green chilies
  10. 1 tbsp. coriander powder
  11. 1 tsp. cumin powder
  12. 3 tbsp. red chili powder
  13. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  14. 2 tbsp. Crushed peppercorns
  15. Handful of chopped coriander leaves
  16. Salt
  17. Sugar


Heat oil in a heavy pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and whole garam masala. Wait till the spices splutter. Add chopped onion with little salt and sugar and fry till they become brown. Adding salt takes the moisture out of the onion and helps to cook faster. Be patient and wait till they turn brown. This brown onion will dissolve when you add water and turns into a nice rich gravy.

Now add turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste. chopped green chilies and curry leaves to it. Fry till the raw flavor of ginger+garlic paste goes away. Add chopped tomatoes, chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder to it. Fry on medium heat till they are soft and mushy. It will take about 10 mins for the tomatoes to get done. By this time you will see that the oil is oozing out of the spices.

Add chicken pieces and mix thoroughly with the spices. Cover it up with a lid and allow it to simmer for about 7- 10 mins. You need not add any water as the chicken will release enough moisture to get cooked. Adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper corn and mix it well. Finish it off with handful of chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with hot rice, chapathi or appam.

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