Chettinad Masala

‘Chettinad’, a region of the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu, India has the repertoire for one of the most renowned cuisine of South India. It is a cuisine of the Nattukottai Chettiar community. The cuisine boasts of very spicy, delicious and flavorful dishes. The region hosts an array of fragrant spices which are well represented in its dishes. There is a basic spice mix which is tweaked as per requirement of various dishes like chicken Chettinad, Prawn Chettinad, Chettinadu muttai masala (spicy egg masala curry), Palkatti Chettinadu (paneer/cottage cheese curry) to name a few.

Here I would like to share this basic masala powder recipe which can be used in various vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes as per desired proportion and tweaked and incorporated as per individual preference.


Chettinad Masala Recipe

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 - 12 minutes
Yield: 1 ½ Cup approximate


  • Dry Whole Red Chillies: 10 - 15 pieces
  • Coriander Seeds: 3 tablespoon
  • Cumin Seeds: 2 teaspoon
  • Poppy Seeds: 2 teaspoon
  • Peppercorns: 3 - 4 teaspoon
  • Star Anise: 1 piece
  • Green Cardamom: 14 - 15 pieces
  • Cinnamon: 3 - 4 pieces
  • Fenugreek Seeds: 1 teaspoon
  • Fennel Seeds: 2 tablespoon
  • Kapok Buds/ Marathi Moggu: 4 pieces
  • Stone Flower: 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh/ Frozen Grated Coconut: 4 tablespoon OR Or Desiccated Coconut: 3 tablespoon
  • Curry Leaves: 7 - 8 strings
  • Cloves: 14-15 


While roasting, add the spices one by one, and roast till fragrant taking care not to burn anything in the process.



  1. Roast the spices (except coconut and curry leaves) on low flame till nicely fragrant. Take it off heat.
  2. Add the curry leaves and coconut to the pan and roast them on very low flame. Take off from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Transfer the contents to a grinder and grind into a fine powder.
  4. Store the masala in an air-tight container and use as per requirement.