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Authentic Indian Curry Recipe – Chennai Chicken

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This authentic Indian curry recipe is quite easy to make and so very good!

Chennai Chicken Curry

Chennai Chicken – An authentic Indian curry recipe you will love!

I love my British curry house style curries but lately I’ve been exploring more traditional recipes and techniques.

This authentic Indian curry recipe is delicious and one you simply must try. I learned the recipe from Executive Chef Balaji Balachanderack at Carom Soho and make it all the time now.

The recipe originates from the Chennai region where Chef Balachander is from. I knew this authentic Indian curry recipe would be a big hit with my family when I tried it. It was.

About this curry recipe.

The original curry recipe used a lot more oil. I have only used 3 tbsp instead of the 150ml (3/4 cup) oil in the original recipe. I just wanted to let you know this in case you want to try the real authentic chicken curry recipe the traditional way.

Also, I developed the recipe further for ease. The original recipe I was given was written with exact measure in grams. I know no talented restaurant chef would get his scales out. Balachander definitely wouldn’t. 

So I have used less strict measures which makes cooking this Chennai chicken curry a lot less fussy.

Roasting the fennel and black pepper. First step.

Grinding spices.

Grind the fennel and pepper into a powder and set aside.

Infusing spices in oil

Infuse the flavours of the whole spices and curry leave in the hot oil.

adding garlic, ginger to curry

Add the garlic and ginger paste.

stirring chicken into curry.

Add the chicken.

adding tomato and water to curry sauce

Add the tomatoes and water.

In goes the ground pepper and thick coconut milk.

simmering curry sauce

Simmer the sauce until you are happy with the consistency. I added a bit of paprika for colour.

authentic chicken curry

Dig in!

Looking for more authentic chicken curry recipe ideas? Try these!

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Yield: 4

Chicken Chennai

Chennai Chicken Curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 10 Curry Leaves
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 3 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 1-inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 2 medium brown or red onions - finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 3 green bird's eye chillies, ground into a paste in a pestle and mortar using a little oil
  • 1 kg (2 lbs.) skinless chicken thighs - cut into bite sized pieces
  • 5g Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 400g about 3 medium chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml ( 1 cup) coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Roast the black pepper and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking.
  2. Grind into a powder using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the whole spices to the oil along with the curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds to infuse these amazing flavours into the oil. Be very careful not to burn the spices or they will become bitter.
  4. To cool the pan down, add the sliced onions and cook until golden brown on a medium heat. This should take about 7 minutes.
  5. Add the ginger and garlic paste and stir well, then add the chicken and green chilli paste and stir to combine.
  6. Add the turmeric, chilli powder and coriander powder and cook for five minutes
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir until the chicken is cooked. You could add a drop of water if you pan is looking too dry.
  8. Finish with cracked black pepper and fennel powder and coconut milk. Simmer for a couple of minutes and then add salt to taste.
  9. Serve in a bowl, garnished with coriander with white rice.

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 I hope you enjoy this authentic chicken curry recipe from Chennai! If you do try it, please don’t be a stranger. Leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. 

Kayla Conley

Friday 24th of October 2014

How long should I cook the chicken?

Dan Toombs

Saturday 25th of October 2014

Hi Kayla

The chicken needs to be cooked through. It should be hot and white in the centre. This can take up to about ten minutes but an even longer cooking time won't hurt.


Paola Minekov

Wednesday 29th of January 2014

Just what I was looking for tonight :) Delicious!

Dan Toombs

Saturday 15th of February 2014

Great to hear. Glad you liked it.


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