June 26, 2013

Chettinad Chicken Masala Recipe (Dry) - Easy Indian Chicken Recipes

I have always been partial towards the extra spicy and curry-leaf-rich Chettinad cuisine ever since I can remember and Anjappar is one of my favourite restaurants in SIngapore to get spicy Chettinad food. Their Chicken Masala is particularly good - bite-sized pieces of chicken cooked in a rich spicy gravy and reduced to a consistency where the gravy is just about coating the chicken pieces. It goes great with rice and roti alike and is absolutely delicious. While I love the Kerala-style Roasted Chicken Recipe too, this one is easier and almost as good.

chettinad chicken masala recipe
Chettinad Chicken Masala and Poricha Kuzhambu

Many months back, I tried to replicate that taste at home and came close with one attempt. So here's me sharing the recipe all you chicken lovers. Check out more Indian Chicken Recipes here.


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 2

  • 2 chicken thighs (with bone)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 ripe tomato, cubed
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1/2 tsp of roasted jeera, powdered
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp of black pepper + fennel seeds powdered together
  • 1 tsp of chicken masala (or add more coriander powder)
  • 1 tsp of garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp of grated ginger
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 fistful of fresh curry leaves

How to Make Chettinad Chicken Masala:

1. Heat oil and add the onions and curry leaves. Saute until the onions turn golden brown.

2. Next, add all the spices - turmeric + cumin + coriander + chicken masala + pepper + fennel + chilli powder and saute for 30 seconds until frangrant.

3. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 5 seconds before adding the cubed tomato. Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and juicy.
chettinad chicken masala

4. Meanwhile, wash the chicken pieces and make some slits on the meaty portion. Add this to the cooking masala and toss to coat well.

5. Add 1 cup water and some salt and cook covered for 15-20 mins until the chicken is cooked and soft. Open the lid and cook further until the gravy turns thick and the masala coats the chicken. If you want more gravy, you can add more water but I like it on the thicker side.

6. When the chicken pieces are ready, sprinkle garam masala on top, mix, and remove from fire.

Serve hot with rice - it's delicious!

  1. The curry leaves are an important ingredient. You can add coriander leaves but that would change the flavour so I don't add them usually to Chicken Chettinad
  2. You can also use cubed boneless chicken, just adjust cooking time accordingly
  3. The tomatoes are optional, I just like the sourness it lends to the masala
  4. You can temper the hot oil with mustard seeds. I sometimes add them and sometimes not
  5. Update: the chicken masala I have had at Anjappar titled Chicken Chettinad didn't have coconut. There's a version with coconut but it's called something else (Anjappar special something). I haven't tried that version so bear with me. You can definitely add some roasted and ground coconut to this masala if you wish, and avoid the tomatoes. 
  6. You can also substitute the garam masala with freshly ground spices - a mix of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaf, dry roasted until fragrant

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