Quick Chettinad chicken masala


  • Serves 4 people

  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp each ground fennel, ground coriander and ground cumin
  • 3 long dried red chillies
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 1 each cinnamon quill and star anise
  • 1-2 tsp ground chilli, or to taste
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 70 gm (¾ cup) finely grated fresh coconut
  • 8 chicken thigh fillets (about 1kg), thickly sliced
  • Juice of 2 limes, or to taste
  • To serve: steamed basmati rice and coriander sprigs
01   Dry-roast poppy seeds, fennel, coriander, cumin and whole dried chillies in a saucepan over medium heat until fragrant (1 minute). Remove from heat, then pound in a mortar and pestle to break up chillies. Set aside.
02   Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add curry leaves and stir until fragrant (30 seconds). Add onion, stir occasionally until light golden (5-6 minutes), then add spice mixture, remaining spices, ginger and garlic, and stir occasionally until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes, stir until starting to break down (3-4 minutes), then add coconut and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and stir occasionally until cooked through (4-5 minutes). Add lime juice, season to taste, and serve hot topped with coriander sprigs and with steamed rice to the side.
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