Chicken Chettinad with Saffron Rice Recipe

About: Chicken Chettinad is a popular Southern Indian style curry dish that originated in the small village of Chettinad. It traditionally incorporates tamarind, pepper, and curry leaves, although in this version the tamarind is optional. Saffron rice is rice prepared with one of the most exquisite, and expensive, spices in the world. The golden color imparted by the saffron leaves makes this rice dish an elegant accompaniment to any curry. Serve this meal by passing the rice and curry separately alongside Indian flat bread such as naan or roti (available at Trader Joe’s and elsewhere).

Recipe Info

Restaurant: Masala | San Diego

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cuisine: Indian
Meal Type: Recipemealtype object (5)
Main Ingredient: Recipemainingredient object (48)
Dish Type: Recipedishtype object (4)
Cooking Method: Recipemethod object (6)
Season/Occasion: Recipeoccasion object (12)
Dificulty: Recipedifficulty object (2)
Vegetarian: No


Saffron Rice

Soak saffron threads in milk for 2-3 minutes. Heat oil in large skillet. When oil is hot, squeeze juice from lemon into skillet, add saffron and milk mixture. Turn off heat under skillet, add cooked rice and stir to coat.

Chicken Chettinad

Heat oil in skillet. Add curry leaves, onion, garlic, ginger, and tomato. Stir to combine and cook 5 minutes on low heat. Add garam masala, salt, cayenne, black pepper, and tamarind, if desired. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add water and chicken, cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add cilantro and serve immediately, alongside saffron rice (recipe below).

Chicken Chettinad Note:

There are several traditional Indian ingredients used in this recipe. Curry leaves are often used in Southern Indian cooking and can be found at any Indian market. Garam masala is a common blend of ground spices used in many Indian curry dishes. It can be purchased from Indian groceries and specialty food shops. Tamarind is a tart tropical fruit that is a staple of South India. The preserved pulp of the fruit can be found in Indian grocery stores in various forms; pureed paste is the best form to use for this dish


4 saffron strands 3 Tbsp. oil 1 tsp. warm milk 4 curry leaves 1 Tbsp. oil 1 onion, diced 1/2 lemon 1 tomato, diced 1 tsp. garlic, minced 2 C. cooked Basmati rice 1 tsp. fresh ginger, chopped 2 tsp. garam masala (to taste) salt 1 tsp. black pepper (as desired) cayenne pepper (to taste) tamarind paste (optional) 1 C. water 12 oz. boneless chicken, cut into small pieces 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro


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