This Chettinad curry chicken came about during Phase 4 of MCO due to my husband’s sudden cravings for Indian curry.  He started to google for Indian curries and told me to try this.  Honestly, I prefer to prepare simple easy meals during MCO as I prefer to stay home.  Preparing ‘extraordinary’ dishes means I have to be out sourcing for ingredients.

After reading through the recipe, I discovered most of the ingredients are available in my kitchen except for chicken.  So, here goes the preparation of the curry paste and cooking of the curry after making a trip to the market to get the chicken meat.

This curry is quite spicy to me [with oomph] and could be categorised as very spicy to some people who cannot take spicy curries.  The spiciness comes from the use of peppercorns and hot dried chillies.  I was told that some people cook this curry dry.  I believe the dry version will be very spicy but definitely awesome for people like husband who loves spicy curries.  Shared this curry with an Indian friend, she said is spicy but awesome.

You can use whole chicken [about 1.2 to 1.5 kg] to make this curry.


800 gm chicken thigh – skin removed cut into 2

6 chicken wings – tips chopped, keep whole

2 drumsticks – skin removed, keep whole

4 ripe tomatoes – chopped add 1/2 tsp salt

2 sprigs curry leaves

300 gm shallots – coarsely sliced

1 tbsp each of grated ginger and garlic

100 ml cooking oil

salt to taste

Curry Paste [1] Dry fry until aromatic

4 star anise

8 cardamons

8 cloves

1.5 tsp peppercorns

1 inch piece cinnamon

15 dried chillies

1 mace [nutmeg]

100 gm grated white coconut

Curry Paste [2]

3 tbsp coriander powder

2 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp fennel powder

Marinade for Chicken

2 tsp salt

2 tsp tumeric powder

2 tsp lemon juice

  1. Dry fry curry paste [1] ingredients until aromatic and dry.  Add grated coconut and fry until lightly browned and dry.  Leave to cool before blending in a blender.  Add in curry paste [2] ingredients.
  2. Marinate chicken pieces with marinade for chicken for at least 30 minutes or more.
  3. Heat oil in a non stick wok, add in curry leaves, fry until aromatic.  Add in shallots, continue to fry until shallots are translucent and lightly browned.  Add in ginger and garlic paste.  Continue to fry over low to medium heat until aromatic before adding cut tomatoes.  Fry until the tomatoes are soft and forms a thick gravy and oil separates.
  4. Add in the chicken pieces, fry over high heat for several minutes before adding the curry paste [1&2].  Continue to fry until the chicken is well coated with the masala.  Add in a cup of water, continue to fry, then cover to cook over low heat until chicken is tender and cook.   Serve hot with rice.
  5. Note: Before adding water, I transfered the fried ingredients  to a thermal cooker inner pot, add water, bring to boil for 5 minutes.  Then transfer the pot to thermal cooker to continue the cooking.  The chettinad curry chicken is ready within the next hour.
  6. The blanched okras are added before serving [optional].

*Mace is a spice. It is the lacy coating (called the aril), found on a nutmeg seed. This lacy aril, which is red, is removed by hand from the outer shell of the nutmeg and then dried, becoming a yellowish-brown spice.

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