Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine of a community called the Nattukotai Chettiars, or Nagarathars, from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu state in South India. Chettinad cuisine is a renowned fare in the Tamil Nadu repertoire (information courtesy Wikipedia). This delicious Chicken curry is inspired by the Chettinad flavors. The Chettinad masala used in this recipe gives it that unique flavor true to its region. This masala can be made in large quantity and stored in airtight container in the refrigerator. This way it will come handy whenever you plan to make this dish. Vegetarians can substitute chicken with cottage cheese (paneer). Do pan fry the paneer before adding it to the gravy.
- Chicken - 1 kg
- Onion - 2 medium size, chopped
- Curry leaves - 10 -12 washed and chopped
- Tomatoes - 2 medium size, grated
- Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Coconut milk - 1 - 1 1/4 cup
- Salt - 1 teaspoon or as per your taste
- Oil - 2 tablespoon
- Cinnamon - 1/2
- Cloves - 2 nos.
- Fresh coriander leaves - for garnishing
- Chettinad masala -
- Curry leaves - 8 nos.
- Fennel seeds - 3/4 taspoon
- Dry Corriander seeds - 1 1/2 tablespoon
- Cinnamon - 1
- Dry red chillies - 6-8nos. adjust this quantity if you prefer less spicy
- Black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
- Cumin sedds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Green Caradmom - 2 nos.
- Oil - 1 teaspoon
- Make a paste of -
- Garlic flakes - 6-8 nos
- Ginger - 2
- Green chillies - 3 nos. , reduce this quantity if you prefer less spicy
- Poppy seeds - 2 teaspoon
Put 1 tsp. oil in a pan, when hot add all the whole spices mentioned under Chettinad masala and roast them on a medium flame for few seconds to a minute stirring continuously. When they begin to change color and you get a nice aroma of the roasted spices switch off the gas and grind them into a rough paste. In this recipe do not over roast the spices as it will make the masala lose its flavour.
Keep the ground masalas aside, it will be added to the gravy along with the chicken. Now make a paste of ginger, garlic, poppy seeds and green chilies in the same grinder with a little water.
Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan, when hot add cinnamon and cloves and let them roast till they become dark in color. Remove them with the help of a slotted spoon and add the chopped onions and chopped curry leaves. Cook them on high flame, stirring often, till the onions begin to turn the golden color. To it add the paste mixture and cook on medium heat for a minute, then add the grated tomatoes,
To it add the paste mixture and cook on medium heat for a minute, then add the grated tomatoes, salt, and turmeric and cook covered on medium high, stirring in between. In this step, I usually use the masher to stir the mixture and press it every time to get the smoother gravy mixture.
When the gravy looks cooked and the oil can be seen around the gravy on the side of the pan, its time to add the chicken, ground dry roasted masala, coconut milk. Cook covered on medium high flame for 7 -8 minutes or till the chicken is cooked. Do stir during the cooking process to prevent the gravy from sticking at the bottom of the pan and to ensure even cooking.
When the chicken is cooked turn off the heat, garnish the dish with chopped coriander and serve hot with chapatti, naan or rice.
Useful Tip: Vegetarians can add paneer instead of chicken in the same gravy.