Chettinad Chicken Kuzhambu

Chettinad cuisine is very famous for its unique flavors…it is unique because of the brilliant combination of spices interspersed in all of their dishes. I have always been on the lookout for an authentic Chettinad Chicken curry recipe..and I finally found one here, at Solai Aachi’s Kitchen. I have made very slight modification to her original recipe in that I have used the same ingredients, but I have modified the way it is made, the modifications are based on the memories of watching my grandmother make it.

2 tbsp oil
1 large cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 star anise
2 green cardamom
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
a sprig curry leaves
2 large onions, finely chopped
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
salt to taste
cilantro chopped, for garnish

Marinate for 1 hour
1.5 lbs chicken thighs with bone, cut up
1 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ginger garlic paste

To grind:
2 tbsp frozen grated coconut thawed
15 shallots
1 1/2 tsp kasa kasa(poppy seeds)
1 1/2 tsp broken cashews
1 tsp fennel

Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Let the whole spices fry and infuse the oil. Add the curry leaves and minced onion and garlic. Let it fry until golden brown and soft. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook until raw flavor is gone. Add the tomatoes and salt and cook until all the water evaporates and oil seperates. Add the chilli powder and coriander powder. Then add the marinated chicken and saute to combine with the spices. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the ground masala and enough water to get kuzhambu consistency. Let cook until chicken is tender and oil floats to top. Sprinkle with cilantro and pour on top of steamed rice. Enjoy!

Verdict: The texture and consistency from using shallots/small onions for the gravy, just can’t be beat. I used to complain and substitute regular onions…but the depth of flavor with a subtle sweetness….is worth the effort. 🙂 There is a tang from the yogurt used in the marination and the flavors imparted by the bold spices, just can’t be beat.

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  1. First time here…tried your kuzhambu recipe and it came out really good.. everyone loved it and emptied the pot..though i skipped adding shallots(as i was out of it) kuzhambu was very tasty..sure will cook again. thanks for ur recipe.

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