Classic flavours of Chettinad Chicken hailing from the community of Tamil Nadu includes a number of whole spices. Roasted until they release their flavour and ground to a fine powder which lend a wonderful flavour to the curry. Cooked at special occasions; this chicken recipe traditionally is cooked with kalpasi (stone flower) which I have excluded due to availability. In the ground spice mix you can opt for dried mild chillies although again for the additional colour and flavour I have used kashmiri chilli powder. One of my favorites dishes I sampled during my travels to Chennai recently and learnt that a vital ingredient in chettinad cooking is Gundu chillies (Mundu). They are round, fat dried chillies with a smoky flavour and a bout of heat. With a thin skin and unique flavour they are renowned in the region due to their longevity and can be used all year round.
Tomatoes are not used in a chettinad gravy like this. I have used boneless chicken thigh which is great as it stay moist in the curry although you could use chicken on the bone for a little more flavour.
- Add the spice powder ingredients in a grinder and grind to a fine powder. Add the chicken in a large mixing bowl and mix the ground spice powder. Coat well and marinate for 2 hours or overnight
- In a large heavy bottom pan heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the cinnamon stick and fennel seeds. Fry for a few seconds
- Add the onions and stir well frying for 15 minute. Continue to stir as they colour evenly all over. Add the curry leaves, garlic and ginger. Fry for 1 minute
- Now add the marinated chicken and turn the heat up slightly. Sealing the chicken pieces for 3-4 minutes
- Turn the heat low, season to taste and add 50mls water to create a light gravy. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes stirring half way through. Serve warm with paratha or rice