I've been waiting to try out the Chicken Chettinad since the time I ate it in a small restaurant in Bangalore some aeons ago. Never thought I had the recipe sitting right inside my Sanjeev Kapoor collection on my book shelf. What triggered me to flip through the book was when I saw it on my friend/blogger Cherie's blog and from that day on I have decided to go through all the recipes in my existing (and ever growing) collection of recipe books and toss them away (read 'donate') if I haven't cooked even one dish from it for over a year. Looks like my New Year's resolution has already been made. At least this will help me focus on the important things in life and make the much needed space on my book shelf for better things.
By the way, I totally agree with Cherie that although Chicken Chettinad was born in Tamil Nadu it tastes a lot like a Mangalorean dish - replete with a host of tongue tickling spices and grated coconut that makes it well, almost a cousin of the Kori Aajadina
(Chicken Sukka). The minor difference would be the generous use of fragrant spices like Fennel (Saunf) & Star Anise (which is the dominant flavour) in the Chicken Chettinad. We Mangaloreans use a lot of tamarind in our curries which is replaced by the tomato here. Apparently in some regions of Tamil Nadu, this dish is prepared without the coconut, so you may skip the same, however, I think it tastes bests with some coarsely ground coconut.
By the way, if the Mangaloreans have'nt noticed yet, the serving dish used here is made of 'pouli' (in Konkani) or the Areca nut palm leaf which are eco friendly and are used to make plates & dishes meant for a one time use. I see these are catching up in Mangalore where caterers use them to serve food. I was quite impressed with them when my mum bought me a pack (knowing my latest obsession of collecting cutlery for the blog). I went and bought another pack of smaller bowls from Nilgiris Supermarket, opp S.D.M College, M.G. Road, Mangalore
So well, isn't it a case of presenting Chettinad in a Mangalorean way? ;-)
For the masala
- 1 kg chicken
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 medium sized tomatoes
- 1 large sprig or 10-12 curry leaves (karipatta)
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander (for garnish)
- salt to taste
- 3 tbsp oil for frying
- 6-8 long dry red chillies (I used Bedgi) * see notes
- 2 tsp poppy seeds (khus khus)
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cloves
- 1 inch piece cinnamon
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1/2 star anise (chakri phool)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 1 cup or 1/2 a grated coconut
- 2 inches ginger
- 6 garlic flakes
- 2-3 tsp oil for roasting
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder (you may skip this) * see notes
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1. Clean the chicken and cut it into medium size pieces. Wash and drain on a colander.
2. Heat some oil in a a skillet/tawa and roast the long dry red chillies, poppy seeds, coriander and cumin seeds, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, star anise and grated coconut and grind to a coarse paste along with ginger & garlic.
3. Heat oil in a large wok/kadhai and fry the onions till golden. Toss in the curry leaves and fry for a few seconds and then add the ground paste and saute for some time. Add the chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder and the turmeric powder and fry for a couple of minutes
4. Add the chicken pieces, mix well and cook for 5 minutes on a medium high flame. Add salt to taste and 1 cup water, lime juice. Cover & cook till done. If you want more gravy add a little extra water to achieve the desired consistency.
5. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with rice or chapathis
You may use 6 red chillies and skip the the chilli powder if your tolerance to spice is low. You can also use Kashmiri chillies if you don't have the Bedgi variety
and add the red chilli powder.
The original recipe asks for 1 tsp chilli powder which increases the spice level of this dish