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Chettinad chicken curry

Diana Henry / 15 March 2016

Why order an Indian takeaway when you can make this easy and delicious chicken curry from Chettinad, Tamil Nadu?

Chettinad chicken curry
Chettinad chicken curry. Photograph by Laura Edwards, food styling by Joss Herd

Marinating time

30 minutes

Cooking time

30 minutes




  • 550g skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into big chunks
  • 200ml plain yoghurt
  • 1½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 inch square piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped coriander

For the spice blend:

  • ¾ tbsp fennel seeds
  • ¾ tbsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 dried chilli flakes


As this serves four, keep half in the fridge for the following day. It actually tastes better

Because it contains yoghurt you must not boil the dish – bring it to just under the boil when you are reheating it – otherwise the sauce will split.

Put the chicken into a bowl with the yoghurt, turmeric and salt and stir everything together. 

Leave the chicken to marinate for half an hour.

Grind the spices for the spice blend, either in a small blender or with a mortar and pestle.

Heat the oil in a small casserole or sauté pan and cook the onions until they are soft and golden. 

Add the fennel seeds and cinnamon stick and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the chicken, garlic and ginger and the spice blend. 

Turn everything over with a wooden spoon and cook for about 4 minutes then add the sugar and 100ml water and bring to a gentle simmer. 

Cook very gently for 15 minutes – the juices will thicken a bit as the dish cooks.

Finally, scatter with coriander and serve with rice and chutney.

Visit our Indian recipes section for more delicious curry recipes, such as Diana Henry's recipe for chicken and coconut curry.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.