Chicken chettinad

It’s been a while since I made any Indian dishes and being from south India, I love really spicy food. And by spicy I mean, laden with spices – not just heat. This dish is really tasty, lot of fresh ground spices and you can adjust the heat to your liking. The recipe below is what  I would consider medium spicy, I think I would up the amount of pepper in the dish.


Chicken chettinad

Chicken thighs/breasts – 1lb. I used chicken breasts for this recipe
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Cardamom pods – 2
Bay Leaf – 2
Cloves – 3 or 4
Onions – 2 sliced
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Jalapenos/Serrano peppers – 2
Curry leaves – a whole stalk
Cilantro – 1/2 cup chopped
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Whole peppercorns – 2 tsp
Garlic – 4 cloves minced
Ginger – 1/2 inch pieced made into a paste, or just diced very fine
Tomatoes – 2 diced

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok on medium heat, and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. You’ll hear them crackle and pop. Once they start, add the cloves, bay leaves and the cloves. Stir for about 20 seconds and then add the onions and the jalapenos/serrano peppers. Add a dash of salt to help cook the onions cook faster. Cook the onions until they turn brown. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for about 2 minutes or until the raw smell of the garlic disappears. Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and turn the heat down to medium-low and cook this onion spice mixture for about 4-5 minutes until you see oil starting to ooze out from the onions. Now add the tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, until you have almost a paste. Now add your chicken pieces and mix it with this sauce.

This next step depends on your patience. I’m a pretty patient person when it comes to cooking, so I usually turn the heat down to the 2nd lowest setting and then cover and cook for about 35-40 minutes. You can turn the heat to medium, and cook the chicken in about 10-15 minutes. Make sure the chicken doesn’t get overcooked. So every 3-4 minutes check to see if the chicken is done (no more pink). Once the chicken is cooked, coarsely grind the pepper corns. You can use the coarse setting on a pepper grinder, or you could just use a mortar and pestle. Or if you are ghetto like me, you put the peppercorns in a bowl and then take a can of tomato sauce and crush them with the bottom of the can.

Add the freshly ground pepper to the chicken and stir and mix. Add the finally chopped cilantro. Taste one last time for salt, and then  serve.

I served it with Kerala porotta which I have no idea how to make, but you can buy frozen ones from an Indian grocery store and they are quite good.




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