Thursday, 25 June 2009

Chicken Chettinad

Chettinad Cuisine is the cuisine of Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu of south India and is one of the spiciest and most aromatic in India. This cuisine is mainly famous for using variety of spices for cooking its dishes, especially non-vegetarian. Chettinad chicken curry is one of the most famous dishes in this cuisine. Most of the chettinad dishes are eaten with rice and rice accompaniments such as idiyappam,appam, dosa etc. Due to the blend of spices used in this curry, aroma that arise while preparing this curry is just fabulous. I have made variations to this curry to suit my family's taste and tolerance to spices. So I reduced the spices to give a subtle taste and aroma of spices rather than an overpowering spicy taste and smell. Dont get intimidated with the long list of ingredients;they are spices that are sure to be available in your pantry and that you use for everyday cooking. We had it with battura and it was too good.

Here goes the recipe for chettinadu chicken curry:
For grinding:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp black pepper corns
2 tsp Couscous (white poppy seeds)
2 small pieces cinnamon
3 cardamom
3 cloves
5 large garlic cloves
2 inch piece ginger (30 gms)
6 tbs dessicated coconut
1 tbs oil
Other ingredients needed:
3 tbs oil
1 tbs Urad Dal
1 bay leaf
15 curry leaves
1 large onion (170 gms) chopped (1 cup firmly packed)
1 tbs Kashmiri Chilli Powder
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 small tomatoes chopped (almost 1 cup)
1 1/2 cup water
salt as required

1. Heat a Frying pan to medium-high, add 1 tbsp oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves, coconut and poppy seeds. Stir and fry briefly until lightly roasted. Put it in the grinder and grind well to powder. Add ginger and garlic to this along with 10 tbs of water and grind it to smooth paste. Set them aside.
2. Heat the remaining 3tbsp oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the bay leaves and urad dal. Stir and fry briefly until the urad dal turns golden, then add the curry leaves. Stir a couple of times and add the onions. Fry the onions until they turn light brown. Add the Kashmiri chilli powder and turmeric powder and just stir for few seconds.Now add the spice paste. Continue to stir and fry for about 4-6 minutes, adding a little water to prevent sticking. Add the chopped tomatoes and Stir for further 3-4 minutes or until the oil starts to leave the side of the pan.
3. Add the chicken pieces and stir until they are well coated with the masala for about 4-5 minutes. Add salt and 1 1/2 cups of water and stir well. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat to medium low, cover and simmer until the chicken is almost cooked, about 20-25 minutes.
5. If there is lot of gravy, just turn up the heat to high and keeping the lid open, boil the sauce until you get a thick sauce. Incase if the chicken is completely cooked and there is lot of sauce left in, remove the chicken using a slotted spoon and boil the sauce until it is thick. Then add the chicken pieces back in; mix well and cook for couple of minutes.
Serve hot with plain rice, chappathis, pooris, ghee rice, Battura etc. Yesterday I made this curry to go with battura and it was absolutely delicious.
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