Kovilpatti Chicken Curry

I call this recipe Kovilpatti Chicken Curry because the originator of this recipe is my aunt who was from Kovilpatti. My mother-in-law was in the habit of collecting recipes but never tried them out. When we were going through her papers after she passed away in 1981, I found a letter dated July 1974 from her sister-in-law (Janaki Srinivasagam – my aunt) giving a recipe for chicken curry and a tomato chutney. I put this letter in a folder to try at a later date but I rediscovered it only last year and decided to make it. To my great surprise and delight, this is a very delicious preparation and so very easy to make. It’s a pity it had to wait 40 years but I suppose good recipes never die. When I spoke to my cousins (my aunt is no more) they told me she was famed for her chicken curry in our family circle. I wish I had known her better; I would have loved to collect more recipes from her.

Kovilpatti Chicken Curry - Kalaskalai

Kovilpatti Chicken Curry

This dish is rich in protein but moderate in energy content. It can be served with fried rice or vegetable biriyanis or pulavs, or even with rice and sambar.


  • 1-1 ¼ kg Chicken, skinned and jointed
  • 2 large Onions, sliced
  • 1 whole Garlic (with all the cloves), diced
  • 3 cms piece Ginger, diced or grated
  • ½ tsp Pepper Powder
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 1 tsp Sombu (Aniseed) Powder
  • 2 T Oil
  • 2 T Ghee
  • 2 T Salt, or to taste
  • 1 C Water

For the Marinade

  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri Chillie Powder
  • 2 T diced Onion
  • 1 tsp Salt


  1. Grind together the ingredients listed under ‘For the Marinade’ in a mixie or blender.
  2. Rub the chicken pieces with the marinade and set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil and ghee in a large kadai or wok.
  4. Add the onions and fry till tender.
  5. Add the chicken pieces with the marinade and fry till the chicken looks cooked on the surface (for about 5 minutes).
  6. Add the diced garlic, ginger, and the spice powders (pepper, sombu, cinnamon).
  7. Stir till the masala is well blended.
  8. Add salt and 1 cup of water. Bring to boil. Cover with the lid.
  9. Lower heat and cook till the chicken is tender and the gravy is thick (about 15 minutes).


  1. The original recipe used 1 tsp cinnamon powder. I find it overpoweringly strong and therefore have reduced it to ¼ tsp.

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