What is the most common spice and seasoning (together) used around the world? Black pepper of course. And with good reason. It adds heaps of flavour, brightening up any dish, and it cures. When in doubt, use pepper. And make chicken pepper fry!
The heat is on, on the street, inside you head, on every beat. And the beat’s so loud, deep inside, the pressure’s high, just to stay alive. ’Cause the heat is on! Don’t ask me why, but I sing this every time I make chicken pepper fry. It’s the song that just pops in my head. Both the song and the pepper chicken gets me all pumped — bring it on, life.
This is more a feel-good dish rather than an I-can’t-handle-the-heat dish. So go ahead, give chicken pepper fry a try! Only then will you get to bite into those tender, juicy, bursting-with-flavour chicken pieces will you realise that this dish is awesome. Better than awesome if you are down with a cold or flu. Try this instead of your usual chicken soup, will ya.
I found this recipe in Sabitha Radhakrishna’s Aharam, a book that has a plethora of traditional recipes from Tamil Nadu. It pairs really well with chappatis and dosas.
Tell me can you feel it? The heat is on!
Chicken Pepper Fry | Pepper Chicken
350 gm chicken
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons whole black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 one-inch piece cinnamon
2 tablespoons oil
10 curry leaves
2 medium onion, sliced
- Wash and pat dry the chicken. Put it in a bowl and rub in the ginger garlic paste, the juice of 1/2 a lime, turmeric powder and salt. Let it marinate.
- Broil the pepper, cumin, cloves and cinnamon, then powder them coarsely.
- Add oil to a frying pan or kadai, and when hot, add the curry leaves and onion. Fry until they’re golden, then add the powdered spices and fry for a further minute.
- Now add the chicken and sauté for five minutes. Ad a cup of water and cook for 15 minutes with a lid on. Open the lid and check if the water has reduced and if the chicken is tender. If yes, then let it cook for a further 5 minutes with the lid on and then turn of the heat. If not, cook the dish without the lid until the chicken is tender and dry — for about 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat. Ensure that you mix the chicken about now and then to brown it all evenly.
Serving: You could garnish it with coriander leaves before you serve eat Eat hot with rice or chapattis.
Notes: The recipe book asks us to use about 750 gm of chicken. I’ve used half the portion of chicken, and halved everything else too. If you want to make a larger portion, say a kilo of chicken, take out the bones (about 250 gm), and double the remaining ingredients.