The second time I had the opportunity to taste this wonderful dish was about 10 years ago, when I visited Chennai for my Visa interview at the U.S Consulate and my friend introduced me to 'Ponnuswamy', another popular restaurant known for their non-vegetarian Chettiand dishes. Again a couple of years since then, I was working in Bangalore and the Ponnuswamy restaurant chain opened up a branch near my house. Lucky, right? You bet, and I made sure that I had enough meals there to never ever forget the taste of Chettinad cuisine.
5 lbs (2.25Kg) - Chicken (1 whole chicken)
3.5 Tablespoon - Ginger-garlic paste
3/4 Tsp - Turmeric powder
2.5 Tablespoon - Whole peppercorns
6 -Whole dried red chilies
1.5 Tablespoon - Coriander seeds
1/2 Tsp - Fennel seeds
3/4 Tsp - Cumin seeds
1 - Bay leaf
2 Tsp - Poppy seeds
6 - Cardamom
6 - Cloves
2 inch - Cinnamon stick
2 - Star anise
2 sprig - Curry leaves
1/2 Cup - Coconut, grated
3 Cups - Red Onion, chopped
3 - Tomato
2 Sprig - Curry leaves
Salt per taste
- Marinate the chicken with fresh ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder and salt.
- Set it aside in the refrigerator for atleast 1 hour
- Meanwhile, take a heavy bottom pan and add all the ingredients under 'Dry Roast' and keep stirring for 5-8 minutes.
- Take the spices off the heat and let it cool
- Once cooled transfer it to a blender, add water to it and grind it into a fine paste.
- Heat some coconut oil in a large saute pan and add onions and curry leaves and season with salt
- Saute until the onions are golden brown.
- Mix in chopped tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes are soft and mushy
- Stir in the marinated chicken and cover and cook for 20 minutes stirring in between to make sure that chicken is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Open the lid and add the ground spice mixture
- Add water and adjust the salt and cook until you the gravy reaches the desired consistency
- Use fresh Ginger Garlic paste
- Let the chicken marinate at least for an hour
- This dish is very hot and spicy. (That is how it is meant to be). But you can adjust the peppercorns and red chilies in the recipe to tone down the heat to suit your taste
- Serve warm with Rice, Roti, Appam or Dosa