Today I bring to you the Tamil Style Pepper Chicken Curry from the southern East coast of India.
Even though I cook a lot of Indian food I don’t post as many recipes on the blog.It’s probably because most times ,I cook by taste.Add spices,some yogurt, some lentils,some onion..taste here..taste there..adjust..change..it’s mostly recipe less.
That’s why it’s always difficult to write about indian cuisine but recently I have come across some amazing bloggers and food writers who have inspired me to embrace my everyday Indian cooking and share it with my readers here.I have also started reading a lot more about Indian cooking and truth be told it’s daunting because of its sheer vastness.There are more cuisines in India than languages which makes it impossible to record everything.
Though I have shared some Indian recipes before I am going to consolidate all of them under one category for easy reference.
This Pepper Chicken Curry has eluded me for sometime now.I first had Pepper chicken Curry in a dear friend’s house in Chennai for lunch, to say her mother is an amazing cook is downplaying it.Growing up we used to always find a reason to go to her house cause we knew aunty will pamper us with food.I have such great memories of her food and I can only hope one day I can cook as well as she can(Ghaay if you are reading this, say hi to aunty!).
I thought, because I am an Indian and I dabble a lot in the kitchen,I could made pepper chicken curry without a recipe but I under-estimated the cuisine and the dish.That’s partially the reason I have decided to get more serious about cooking Indian food and recording it.I am also posting this recipe as a way of recording it here for future reference,because I recon this will become a weekly affair in my house.
This recipe is from my favourite Indian author and cook-.The original recipe is here.Taste wise this curry is rich with thick spicy dark gravy.If you do not enjoy spicy food, tone down the chillies by omitting the red chillies and green fresh chilli but don’t skip the black pepper.
Spices used in making Pepper Chicken Curry
There are a lot of ready made spice mixes available in the market and I have tried my share of it but I have realised I prefer keeping the basic whole spices in my pantry and playing around with them instead of using readymade mixes for two reason 1. You can’t replicate it 2. For the life of me I cant keep track of them in my kitchen!
Most of my spices are bought from Kerala. Infact,I always pick up a tonne of whole spices from Cochin airport.In my opinion its the best place to buy from.Though if you are fortunate enough to travel to Ooty or Coorg ,you could buy them from there too.
How to Buy Chicken for Curries
In India we are fortunate to have moved away from those open, everything on display sort of shops to easy online options and uber clean supermarkets with token systems.Its never been easier to buy meat.Some online retailers like FreshtoHome give you options of how you want it cleaned, cut etc but I understand that can be daunting to first time cooks.
The fact that I can request any cut I want, at a time I want and without lifting a finger(figuratively obviously!) has sold me on buying my nonveg produce online- Freshtohome ,Liscious and Bigbasket are my all-time favourites, in that order. I usually order for the week-divide and freeze whatever I don’t need immediately and use as and when.
Ask for curry cut with Skin for a rich gravy.If you are on a diet or watching the fat intake as for medium curry cut skinless.
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Serves: 6 servings
- 800 Gms Chicken**
- 3 Medium Onions-Chopped
- 3 Medium Tomatoes-Chopped
- 2 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 Green Chilli-Slit
- 10 Curry Leaves
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 2 tbsp Coriander Powder
- 2 tsp Peppercorns
- 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 Red Chillies
- 1 inch Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Fennel(saunf)
- 3 Cloves
- 1 tsp white poppy seeds(Khas Khas)
- Marinate the chicken with turmeric and Ginger Garlic paste for 15 minutes to 12 hours.
- In a spice blender, blend all the dry masalas and keep aside.
- In a deep pan,Heat the oil.
- Add the onions and sauté till they start turning golden brown.10-15 minutes.
- Add the chilli and cook for another 1 minute.
- Add the Tomatoes and cook until they start disintegrating.About 10 minutes.You can squash the tomatoes to speed up the process.
- Add the dry masala blend.Saute for 1 minute.
- Add the Chicken next and mix well with the onion tomato roast.Turn the pieces Skin side down to enable caramelisation.Do not move for about 4-5 minutes.
- Turn to caramelise the other side.
- Add 1 cup water, salt to taste(around 1 tsbp) and cover.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes covered on medium heat till the oil comes on top.
For a richer Curry use with skin chicken and for a healthier version as for skin less chicken.
How to eat Tamil Pepper Chicken Curry
Usually South Indian Chicken curries work best with dosas or the white lachhe parathas also called parotta in South india.That said, the first day I serve this with plain rice and the next day when there is very little gravy left I serve it with Khichadi.
The Pressure Cooker Method
The Pepper Chicken can be cooked in pressure cooker too though the gravy tends to be thinner and less intense.Follow the same steps till the step number 10 in the cooking method and pressure cook on high for 3 whistles.
If the gravy is thin-Let the chicken cook without the lid on high.