To kick-start the project, I chose Chicken Chettinad. Chicken Chettinad is a subtly spicy South Indian chicken curry, beautifully flavored and textured. I also chose this recipe, as my mother-in-law is in Indore (our hometown). She doesn’t like non-vegetarian food being cooked at home, and when she is not home it is my only opportunity to experiment with meat cooking.
- 1/2 kg chicken pieces with bones ( I love bone pieces because it is in the bones that the real flavor of chicken lies)
- 5-6 peppercorns
- 5-6 cloves
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 large onion sliced vertically
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- paste of 2 tablespoons khus-khus, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, and 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 2-3 teaspoons red chilly powder
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- salt to taste
Wash the chicken and dry the pieces with kitchen towels. The meat cooks better this way. Keep this aside.
I generally use a pressure cooker to make chicken curry. It simulates the slow ‘dum’ cooking, and makes the chicken pieces really tender, and juicy.
Heat oil in the cooker, and add peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and curry leaves. After some time, throw in the onions and cook till they become tender and translucent. Now add the khus-khus paste and the ginger garlic paste. Add turmeric, coriander powder, red chilly powder and garam masala.
Fry this masala for 8 to 10 minutes and then add the tomatoes and salt. Once the tomatoes have become tender add the pieces of chicken.
Add a little water and put on the lid of the cooker. Cook on a slow flame for about 20 to 25 minutes till the chicken pieces are done and your house smells of the beautiful aromas of Kerala.
I couldn’t resist the temptation of tasting the curry before serving it. I can’t describe the pure pleasure it inflicted on my senses. My nose was tantalized before my tongue.
I tried making neer dosa to go with the curry, but damn! I am going to have to go to Annu’s dad to learn the recipe. I have heard that he makes excellent neer dosas. If someone can help me with the neer dosas, then please let me know!
By the way… the image is an actual picture of the Chicken Chettinad cooked, stylized and clicked by me.