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Chettinad chicken curry in an Indian bowl.
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5 from 10 votes

nearly restaurant style chettinad chicken curry

Nearly restaurant style Chettinad chicken curry is a classic South Indian curry with the luscious sauce you get in Indian restaurants. 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chettinad chicken curry, indian chicken curry
Servings: 4
Calories: 517kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


The onion paste

  • 2 cups onions - coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

pre-cook the chicken

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 3 pieces per thigh or 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 tsp curry powder - any curry powder works here
  • 1/2 tsp salt

nearly restaurant chettinad chicken curry

  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2-1 tsp black pepper - butcher's grind is great for this recipe
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon bark - also called cassia
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste diluted with enough water to get it to the consistency of tomato sauce
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2-3 green chilies coarsely chopped
  • 15-20 fresh curry leaves


The onion paste

  • Place the onions in a microwave safe dish and cover loosely. Microwave at 70 percent until the onions are soft and translucent. This takes 10 minutes in my 1100 watt microwave. I can't predict how long it will take in yours...
  • Remove the onions from the microwave. Be careful. They will be hot. Let them cool slightly. Place the onions, 2 tbsp vegetable oil and 1 cup of warm water in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

pre-cook the chicken

  • Add the chicken, chicken stock or water, curry powder and salt to a sauce pan. Pick one that you can cook the final curry in. Less dishes.
  • Bring the stock to a simmer and cook gently just barely done - maybe 8-10 minutes. It will cook a bit longer in the curry. Remove the chicken from the liquid and set aside.

nearly restaurant chettinad chicken curry

  • In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, black pepper, turmeric, kashmiri chili powder, garam masala and salt. This is your spice mix.
  • Heat 4 tbsp vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the cinnamon stick. Once small bubbles form and it crackles a bit, add the green chilies and curry leaves. Cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the garlic ginger paste and cook until it stops spluttering.
  • Turn the heat to medium low. Add the spice mix and stir continuously until it starts to smell really good - around 30-40 seconds. Watch it carefully. If you burn the spices at this point you have to start over.
  • Add the diluted tomato paste and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the onion paste and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5-6 minutes. Cover it loosely. It will splatter. If it doesn't your heat is too low. The curry will darken a bit as it cooks.
  • Turn the heat down to medium low. Add the coconut milk and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the pre-cooked chicken. Simmer until the chicken is warmed through - another 2 minutes or so.
  • Garnish with a bit of cilantro and additional diced green chili pepper if desired.


You can buy garlic ginger paste but it's easy to make and homemade is way better. Here's an easy recipe for garlic ginger paste. If you cook Indian fairly often it's so worth it to whip up a batch. It will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.


Serving: 4servings | Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 1270mg | Potassium: 776mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 505IU | Vitamin C: 85.9mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 3.8mg