Chettinad Chicken Masala / Chicken Dry Curry


(Serves 4 people)

  1. Chicken – 500 grams (chopped into big cubes)
  2. Shallots / Pearl onions – 75 grams (5 onions)
  3. Ginger – 1 inch long piece
  4. Garlic pods – 1
  5. Dry red chillies – 6 to 8
  6. Cumin seeds – 3/4 spoon
  7. Coriander seeds – 1 spoon
  8. Fennel seeds – 1 spoon
  9. Peppercorns – 1/4 spoon
  10. Salt – As per taste
  11. Oil – 5 spoon (Gingelly oil preferred)
  12. Coriander leaves & Curry leaves – Few for garnishing (Optional)


  • Wash chicken pieces well in water and keep them aside.
  • Heat a pan or wok and dry roast the following ingredients very slightly until you get a pleasant aroma. Take care not to over roast them or burn them.
(For Masala Powder)
1. Dry red chillies – 6 to 8
2. Cumin seeds – 3/4 spoon
3. Coriander seeds – 1 spoon
4. Fennel seeds – 1 spoon
5. Peppercorns – 1/4 spoon
  • After the dry roasted ingredients cools down and reaches room temperature, add them to a blender make a fine masala powder out of them and set aside. This is the authentic Chettinad chicken masala powder. You will get nearly 2.5 spoons of this masala powder.
  • Peel onions put them in a blender and make a coarse paste out of it and set aside.
  • Also make ginger-garlic paste and set aside.
  • Now heat a pan, add oil and after it heats up add the coarsely ground onions and saute until the raw smell goes.
  • Then add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a few minutes.
  • Now add the chicken pieces and saute well for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the prepared masala powder and stir well.
  • After 2 minutes pour 1 cup of water, required salt and stir well. Cook on low flame.
  • Close the pan with a lid and cook until the chicken gets cooked well. Sprinkle water if necessary and stir occasionally so that the chicken does not get burnt. Please cook on low flame.
  • When water evaporates and chicken seems well cooked remove from flame and serve.
  • Garnish with coriander and curry leaves if you wish.


TIP 1: The masala powder used here can be used to make other chicken curries too. You can prepare it in larger quantities and store them for future use. While preparing this spice powder please be careful not to over-roast or burn the spices. Just a mild roasting will do.
TIP 2: Use freshly prepared ginger-garlic paste for better flavor.
TIP 3: You can also prepare this using a pressure cooker, after adding a cup of water close the pressure cooker with the lid and pressure cook for 10 minutes on low flame. But the pan method will be the best.
TIP 4: If you want a semi-gravy consistency pour another cup of water and cook until the oil starts to peep out of the gravy.