Guntur-Chile Chicken

Guntur-Chile Chicken
Photo: Gentl + Hyers
Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs

This chicken dish is named after the famed fiery Guntur chiles from the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh ($12, A masala reduction coats each piece of chicken by the end of the cooking process. The masala caramelizes and the spices concentrate, fuse together, and permeate the meat.


  • 2 ¼ pounds bone-in chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks

  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated garlic (from 2 to 3 cloves)

  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)

  • Kosher salt (we use Diamond Crystal)

  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried red chiles, such as Diaspora Guntur sannam

  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, such as Diaspora Pragati

  • 2 tablespoons whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)

  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, such as Diaspora Nandini

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, such as Diaspora Nagauri

  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (available at Indian markets)

  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

  • ¼ cup plus ½ teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 4 to 5 dried red chiles, such as Diaspora Guntur sannam (or fewer, if desired, for less spice)

  • 6 whole cloves, such as Diaspora Kandyan

  • 2 green-cardamom pods, such as Diaspora Baraka, 1 whole, 1 crushed

  • 2 cinnamon-stick pieces (each about 1 inch long)

  • 3 onions, chopped (about 5 cups)

  • 4 Indian green or serrano chiles, slit lengthwise halfway through (left attached at stem ends)

  • 2 to 3 teaspoons freshly coarse-ground black pepper, such as Diaspora Aranya

  • 1 tablespoon ghee

  • 8 to 10 fresh curry leaves (available at Indian markets)

  • Steamed rice or flatbread, for serving


  1. Remove chicken skin, then cut chicken into 2-to-3-inch pieces with a cleaver or a heavy knife (you can ask your butcher to do this). In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, ground chiles, turmeric, and yogurt. Add chicken; rub mixture all over it to coat. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

  2. Make masala: Combine coriander, cumin, and fenugreek seeds in a small, heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium heat. Cook, swirling, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add coconut to skillet; cook over low heat, stirring, until golden and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with spices. Add 1/2 teaspoon oil to skillet. Add chiles, increase heat to medium, and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl; let cool completely, about 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle with 4 cloves, whole cardamom pod, and 1 cinnamon piece. Grind to a fine powder.

  3. Heat remaining 1/4 cup oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over high until shimmering. Reduce heat to medium; add remaining 2 cloves and cinnamon piece and crushed cardamom pod. Add onions and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger, and green chiles; cook 2 minutes more. Add chicken and stir well; cook until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of water; bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until most of liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes, checking once or twice to make sure chicken isn't sticking (if it is, add a splash of water and stir to release).

  4. Add coriander-coconut masala, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt to Dutch oven; stir well. Continue to cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and scraping off any masala bits that stick to bottom of pan, until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Drizzle with ghee, sprinkle with curry leaves, and cook 1 minute more. Cover and remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Serve hot, with steamed rice or flatbread.

Cook's Notes

For this recipe, in addition to Diaspora Guntur sannam, we used: Diaspora Pragati turmeric ($12,, Diaspora Nandini coriander seeds ($10,, Diaspora Nagauri cumin seeds ($12,, Diaspora Kandyan cloves ($12,, Diaspora Baraka green cardamom pods (($15,, and Diaspora Aranya black pepper ($12,

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