Chicken salna

Here’s yet another mouth watering recipe for the chicken lovers – Chicken salna! This is an epic masterpiece of the street vendors. Though the exact origin is unknown, this dish is very famous in all the roadside shops or “Thattu vandis” and is loved by everyone. The aroma of this dish will make you crave for it even if you aren’t hungry. Trust me! I have the experience here.

Never had I ever tasted chicken salna before my marriage. The first time I tasted it was when I prepared it. My husband is a fan of all these thattu vandi dishes. It was for him that I tried this recipe. It turned out so well that even I fell in love with it.

Salna is quite similar to kurma but not the same because kurma is thick, whereas salna is watery, more like soup. It is usually had with parotta but it is a very versatile dish that it can be had with anything- idli, dosa, biryani, etc,. You can also have it with wheat parathas for a guilt free meal.

Regardless of whatever you have it with, it is going to blow your mind and your taste buds, because it is packed with a lot of flavors and not to forget… the chicken! Try this recipe at home and I am very sure that it will then become a staple recipe for every night.

So, let me know if this is your favorite recipe too! Happy cooking and eating!

If you have tried any of my recipes, then tag @the_busy_apron and share it on Instagram with the hashtag #thebusyapron. Also tag @TheBusyApron and share it on Twitter with the hashtag #thebusyapron.

Chicken Salna

Abhipriya Raghav
A south Indian master piece of the street vendors, made by cooking chicken pieces in coconut paste and ground spice masala.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings


To marinate chicken

  • 500 grams bone-in chicken
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt, as required

For the masala paste

  • 3/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup shallots
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 red chilies
  • 2-3 1-inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 piece green cardamom
  • 1 tbsp oil, for frying

For the salna

  • ground masala paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 red chili
  • 2 1-inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 medium sized onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • 2 medium sized green chilies, slit
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic-green chili paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • a few sprigs curry leaves
  • few coriander leaves, to garnish
  • salt, as required
  • oil, for cooking


To marinate chicken and to prepare masala paste

  • Add turmeric powder and salt to the chicken. Massage it onto the chicken for 2-3 minutes for the chicken to absorb the marination and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare all the ingredients required for the masala paste.
  • In a pressure cooker, add oil and let it heat.
  • When the oil is hot, add fennel seeds, cumin seeds, red chilies, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and green cardamom. Saute for a few seconds. Do not burn the spices.
  • Add the shallots and saute till it turns translucent.
  • Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
  • Next add the grated coconut, mix it and cook till the raw smell of the coconut disappears.
  • Switch off the stove, transfer the contents to a plate and let it cool down.
  • Now, transfer the contents to a mixer grinder and grind it into a smooth paste by adding some water. Set aside.

For the salna

  • Prepare the other ingredients required for the salna.
  • To the same pressure cooker, add some oil and let it heat. After it turns hot, add the cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, red chilies and star anise and fry for a few seconds.
  • Add the curry leaves, onions and the green chilies and fry till the onions turn translucent.
  • Next, add the ginger garlic green chili paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
  • Now add the tomatoes along with a pinch of salt and cook till it turns mushy.
  • Add the red chili powder, coriander powder and pepper powder. Mix well and cook for a minute.
  • Add the marinated chicken pieces and mix it well with the onion-tomato mixture. Cook till the outer surface of the chicken changes color.
  • Add the ground masala paste and mix well.
  • Add salt, garam masala and required water to make the gravy.
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for 3 whistles on medium flame. Switch off the stove and let the pressure release naturally.
  • Once the pressure has released, open the lid and place the cooker back on flame. Check for seasoning. If the gravy is not watery, then add some more water and let it boil.
  • Finally add the coriander leaves and switch off the stove.
  • Serve hot with parotta or wheat parathas.


  • If you are adding salt while marinating the chicken, then accordingly add salt to your gravy.
  • Bone-in chicken lends more flavor to the gravy. If it is not available then you can use even boneless chicken.
  • Make sure not to burn the spices while frying them. 
  • If you want to reduce the quantity of the gravy, then reduce the amount of coconut taken.
  • For the masala paste, add red chilies according to your taste.
  • Shallots can also be replaced with normal onions, if it is not available.
  • Because we are adding red chilies and green chilies, the amount of red chili powder taken can be altered as per your liking.
  • The quantity of the water that is added can be adjusted according to the consistency in which you want the gravy. Usually it is preferred as a thin gravy.
Keyword chicken, coconut, curry, salna, south Indian