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Chettinad chicken curry is a South Indian dish loaded with coconut, spices and curry leaves.
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5 from 5 votes

chettinad chicken curry

Chettinad chicken curry is a delicious South Indian coconut based chicken curry that anyone can make.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chettinad chicken curry
Servings: 4
Calories: 670kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp garlic ginger paste - recipe link below
  • 20 fresh curry leaves - optional but very nice
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 15 oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes

Spice Mix

  • 4 tsp restaurant curry powder - recipe link below or replace it with the chettinad masala - see notes.
  • 1-2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper - more if you like
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt


  • Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Add the coconut or vegetable oil and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are a soft, light brown mess. Think French onion soup. You want these onions melting. This step takes a long time. 20 minutes or more.
  • Add the curry leaves if using.  Now add the garlic ginger paste and cook, stirring constantly until the spluttering stops (you will understand when you do it).
  • Add the spice mix and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the chicken and simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160-170F, about 20-25 minutes. Use your instant read thermometer!
  • Spoon off any excess fat (or don't if you are OK with a few calories - the fat is loaded with fat-soluble spices and flavour) and serve with rice.


Indian restaurant spice mix recipe can be found here.
Garlic ginger paste recipe can be found here.
If you want to really up the flavours consider making the Chettinad masala from the hotel style Chettinad chicken curry. Replace the 4 tsp of restaurant spice mix with 4 tsp of Chettinad masala and reduce the black pepper to 2/3 tsp and leave out the cinnamon in this recipe. If you don't have quite enough Chettinad masala add restaurant spice mix powder to make up the difference.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 670kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 214mg | Sodium: 1151mg | Potassium: 1032mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Vitamin C: 110.3mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 5mg