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Chicken Chettinad

Chicken Chettinad is a perfect representation of classic South Indian cooking. Black pepper, coconut, fennel and other spices are freshly ground and cooked with chicken for an aromatic experience that makes for the perfect Sunday lunch!
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author Caramel Tinted Life


  • 1.5 Kg chicken use chicken thighs and legs for the best flavour
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1.5 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1.5 teaspoon fennel
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 4 red chillies this can be omitted, based on your spice tolerance
  • 1 cup grated fresh coconut as a substitute, use desiccated coconut which is easily available in all Swiss supermarkets
  • 5 cashew kernels
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped medium red onion
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder for colour not heat, or substitute with paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves + 1 more for garnishing
  • 5-6 curry leaves curry leaves can be found at an Indian or Sri Lankan store. They add a unique flavour, but can be omitted if unavailable


  • In a mixing bowl, clean the chicken pieces, run the salt all over and let it sit for a while.
  • In a large pan, on medium heat, heat the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, star anise, peppercorns, fennel, coriander seeds, red chillies for a minute or so, until fragrant. Then add the grated coconut, and cashew kernels and heat for another minute.
  • In a coffee or spice grinder, grind the dry roasted spices (without adding water). This is the masala blend which will be used to make the gravy for the dish.
  • In the same pan, on medium heat, add some oil and add the bay leaves and onions. Saute for a minute and then add the Kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder and ginger garlic paste. Saute for another minute.
  • Now add the tomato, and give it a stir. Cook for a minute or so untill the tomato begins to soften.
  • Add the curry leaves, coriander leaves and the ground masala that you just prepared.
  • Give it all a good stir and then add the chicken, stirring it well, so that the chicken is well coated with all the spices. Add 1 cup of water to the pan, cover it with a lid and let it cook on medium heat for around 25 minutes, giving the curry a good stir occasionally.
  • Once done, garnish with the reserved chopped coriander and serve with basmati rice.