Chicken Chettinad

This is one of my favourite Sanjeev Kapoor recipes. It always amuses me to see most guests, especially non-Indians, approach this dish with a lot of trepidation, given its fiery colour. But once they’ve tasted it, they always come back for seconds.

Chicken Chettinad


  • 1 kg chicken, with bones, cut into medium sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 10 curry leaves
  • ½ cup freshly grated coconut
  • 6-8 whole dried red chillies (use the variety that’s more for the colour than spice
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • ½ star anise
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves, for garnishing



In 2 tbsp of oil roast whole red chillies, grated coconut, dried red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and poppy seeds till they turn slightly brown.

Grind the roasted spices with a bit of water along with ginger and garlic to a slightly coarse, wet paste.

Heat 2 tbsp oil and fry the chopped onion till they’re golden brown, add the curry leaves and ground masala paste and fry for few minutes. 
Then add the chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder and cook for few minutes.

Add chicken and mix well, add 2 cups of water, salt, lemon juice and cook till it’s done.

Serve hot, garnished with coriander leaves.

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