Chettinad chicken kurma

This time I am sharing authentic chettinad dish, chicken kurma. Chettinad food is a very famous cuisine for its distinct flavour, taste and spiciness and most popular for its non-vegetarian dishes in chettinand region in Tamil Nadu. Chettinad cuisine is popular for its variety of spices and freshly ground spices for non-vegetarian dishes.

Chettinad chicken kurma is a spicy, hot and aromatic dish, which is flavoured with aromatic and distinctive spices like dagad phool (kal pasi or black stone flower), nutmeg and mace (jaiphal and javitri), star anise apart from cashews and kus-kus (poppy seeds), which is a must . Don’t compromise with the ingredients given or you will not get the chettinand taste. Chettinand chicken kurma goes well with plain rice, porotta, roti, idiyapam , idli and dosa, etc.

Preparation time: 20 mins (excluding soaking cashews)

Cooking time: 50 mins

Cuisine: Chettinad

Serves: 3 to 4

Spiciness: Hot


  • Chicken - 750 to 800 gms
  • Marinade

  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • For roasting and grinding Chettinad masala

  • Cloves – 3
  • Green Cardamom – 3
  • Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch
  • Staranise – 1
  • Dagad phool (black stone flower) – 1 tbsp
  • Mace (javitri) – 1/2 flower
  • Nutmeg (jaiphal) – 3 small pieces,sea salt size or 1/4 tsp (grated)
  • Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
  • Dry chillies – 2 (remove the seeds)
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Black pepper corns – 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Paste

  • Cashew nuts – 5
  • Poppy seeds – 2 tsp
  • Fresh coconut – 2tbsp grated or little more
  • Water – 1/3 cup
  • Gravy/curry

  • Gingelly oil (Nalla ennai) – 1/3 cup, little more
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Dry chillies – 4
  • Fennel seeds (saunf) – 1tsp
  • Cloves – 3
  • Green cardamom – 3
  • Cinnamon stick – 1(2 inch)
  • Star anise – 2
  • Dagad phool – 1tbsp or 2 big flowers
  • Curry leaves – 20 or more
  • Shallots – 250 gms
  • Tomato – 2(170gms)
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 11/2 tbsp
  • Chilli powder – 1tsp
  • Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp(optional)
  • Garam masala – 1/2tsp
  • Water - 2 1/2 cups
  • Coriander leaves – 1/4 cup (chopped)
  • Curry leaves – 10
  • Green chillies – 3(slit)
  • Lemon juice – 1tbsp


  • Slice shallots, chop tomatoes, coriander leaves and slit green chillies, keep it ready.
  • Wash the chicken and drain it well.
  • Marinate it with chilli, turmeric and salt. Mix well and refrigerate for 2 hrs. Before cooking, remove 1/2 hr before from the fridge or enough to bring it to room temperature.
  • Take all the ingredients under "For roasting and grinding masala" and roast it in a low flame without oil until you get the aroma and the spices change colour lightly. Allow to cool and grind it into a fine powder.
  • Soak poppy seeds and cashew nuts in warm water for 20 minutes. Grind it with fresh coconut and a little water to a fine paste.
  • Now take a cooking vessel, add oil and when hot, add bay leaves, dry chillies, fennel seeds and other whole spices. Cook for 30seconds, it will splutter.
  • Add curry leaves, shallots and saute until it is soft and golden colour.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste and sauté for 2 mins.
  • Add tomatoes mix well. Add water 1/4th cup and cook until tomatoes are soft and liquid is absorbed.
  • Add chilli powder and coriander powder mix well, suate for 2minutes and then add water 1/3rd cup, cook for few minutes, until it leaves oil in the corner sides and tomatoes and onion are combined well.
  • Now add the marinated chicken mix well. Cook for 4 to 5mins. Keep stirring so that chicken is not burnt.
  • Add the roasted spice, mix well with chicken. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until it leaves oil in the corner sides. Keep stirring so that spices do not get attached to the vessel.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups water and mix well. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes with the lid closed, on medium flame. Stir in between.
  • When the chicken has cooked well and the curry has left enough oil, add coconut paste, salt as per taste, garam masala (optional) and again a pinch of nutmeg (optional), and mix well.
  • Add 1/2cup water if needed; boil for 7 to 10 minutes on medium flame, by closing the lid.
  • Add coriander leaves, curry leaves, green chillies (optional) and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes by closing the lid. Stir the curry occasionally. You can see that the curry has left oil on top and is ready. Switch off.
  • Add lemon juice and mix well. Allow it to rest for 10 mins.
  • Serve this hot, spicy chettinad chicken kurma with parotta, plain rice, idli, dosa or idiyappam.


  • You can reduce the chillies or chilli powder as per your taste.
  • Sesame oil (nalla ennai) is used, but can use any vegetable oil or sunflower oil.
  • Add water as per the curry required and as per the consistency you require.
  • This chettinand chicken kurma is more of curry type but little thick consistency so that it can be eaten with dosa or idli or parotta.
  • When my curry got cold, it became thick, so I added 1 cup water as per my consistency.
  • Add few mint leaves (15 leaves) while sauteing ginger and garlic paste. It gives more depth and flavour to the curry.
  • While tempering the whole spices for the curry, you can just add bay leaf, fennel seeds and dry chillies and avoid other whole spices.
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