Chicken Chettinad: A Spicy South Indian Delight

Chicken Chettinad is a popular South Indian dish known for its aromatic and spicy flavors. Originating from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, this curry features chicken cooked in a blend of freshly ground spices, coconut, tomatoes, and onions.

It’s a perfect dish for those who enjoy bold and robust flavors.


  • 1.5 lbs chicken, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 4-5 dried red chilies
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


  1. Prepare the Spice Paste:
    • Dry roast the grated coconut, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, dried red chilies, coriander seeds, and poppy seeds until aromatic. Allow to cool, then grind into a fine paste using a little water.
  2. Cook the Onions and Tomatoes:
    • Heat oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the Chicken:
    • Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook until they start to brown. Then, add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they soften.
  4. Add the Spice Paste:
    • Add the prepared spice paste to the pan along with turmeric powder and salt. Mix well and cook for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is well coated with the spices.
  5. Simmer:
    • Add a cup of water to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the gravy thickens.
  6. Finish with Garam Masala:
    • Stir in the garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  7. Serve:
    • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice, naan, or roti.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken Chettinad pairs beautifully with steamed rice, biryani, or Indian bread like naan or roti. A side of cucumber raita or a simple green salad can balance the spicy flavors of the curry.


Chicken Chettinad is a flavorful and spicy dish that brings the essence of South Indian cuisine to your table. With its aromatic spices and rich gravy, it’s sure to be a hit with anyone who loves bold flavors. Try this recipe for a taste of authentic Chettinad cuisine.