Friday, March 11, 2011

Chicken Chettinad

I have accepted a personal challenge. I have challenged myself to see if it is possible to cook different recipes everyday for 365 days a year. No single recipe can be repeated. Can I succeed? Can this really work? I have named this challenge 'Project Indian Cooking'.

To kick-start the project, I chose Chicken Chettinad. Chicken Chettinad is a subtly spicy South Indian chicken curry, beautifully flavored and textured. I also chose this recipe, as my mother-in-law is in Indore (our hometown). She doesn't like non-vegetarian food being cooked at home, and when she is not home it is my only opportunity to experiment with meat cooking.


  • 1/2 kg chicken pieces with bones ( I love bone pieces because it is in the bones that the real flavor of chicken lies)
  • 5-6 peppercorns
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion sliced vertically
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • paste of 2 tablespoons khus-khus, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, and 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2-3 teaspoons red chilly powder
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt to taste
Wash the chicken and dry the pieces with kitchen towels. The meat cooks better this way. Keep this aside.
I generally use a pressure cooker to make chicken curry. It simulates the slow 'dum' cooking, and makes the chicken pieces really tender, and juicy.

Heat oil in the cooker, and add peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and curry leaves. After some time, throw in the onions and cook till they become tender and translucent. Now add the khus-khus paste and the ginger garlic paste. Add turmeric, coriander powder, red chilly powder and garam masala.
Fry this masala for 8 to 10 minutes and then add the tomatoes and salt. Once the tomatoes have become tender add the pieces of chicken.

Add a little water and put on the lid of the cooker. Cook on a slow flame for about 20 to 25 minutes till the chicken pieces are done and your house smells of the beautiful aromas of Kerala.

I couldn't resist the temptation of tasting the curry before serving it. I can't describe the pure pleasure it inflicted on my senses. My nose was tantalized before my tongue.

I tried making neer dosa to go with the curry, but damn! I am going to have to go to Annu's dad to learn the recipe. I have heard that he makes excellent neer dosas. If someone can help me with the neer dosas, then please let me know!

By the way... the image is an actual picture of the Chicken Chettinad cooked, stylized and clicked by me.

Happy cooking!


  1. looks gr8....and loved the decoration!!!
    good luck with ur project...are u gonna try indian receipes only?? or are u willing to include other cuisines too??

  2. Dear Rhythm,
    Right now the challenge is for Indian Cuisine. I was bored of the regular Dal Chawal and decided that in this pursuit I am going to search the nook and cranny of India for recipes that are easy to cook, and can be inculcated in everyday eating. Maybe I can start project international cooking next year if this one is successful. Thanks for the wonderful comment anyway and keep reading.

  3. You can think of being professional food photographer too ! good job

  4. masst vahani carry on i would like to be there atleast to try some sizzling dishes of chicken

  5. I must admit it was one of the best chicken I have ever had. May soul of that chicken rest in peace, who gave peace to my hungry soul. Amen!

  6. Shucks, sorry I just saw this post, as in technically I should have read this first, but the banana one came on my news feed. This reminds me of the movie I watched on the flight to NZ. Dont remember the name of it. Its an awesome challenge Gauri and I really want you to be totally successful at it. If you are game enough to try other kinds of recipes like GSB style stuff or something let me know.I will email you the recipe and then you can enhance it with your creativity. All the luck girl..

  7. J, the name of the movie is Julie and Julia! Yes, I saw the movie and that is what led me to challenge myself. I do know most of the GSB recipes, but I would definitely appreciate any input from you... And thanks, once again!


  8. This is just like the movie - Julie and Julia. Its a great challenge.. And I am going to follow you till the end.. All the very best.. All your recipes seem lovely and yummy :)