This chettinad style pepper chicken can give any restaurant pepper chicken a run for its money. It’s absolutely fabulous and minus the restaurant style oil spill on top. This pepper chicken is loaded with the flavour of freshly ground peppercorns, shallots and garlic rounded out by the fried coconut. The fried coconut provides excellent texture and that lovely scoopable body to the curry. I love this with rice and Sambar or rice and rasam. It would also make a really nice pair with chappathi. I served this chettinad style pepper chicken with rice, Arachivitta sambar and Paneer fry. I altered my mother’s mutton chops recipe to arrive at this chettinad style pepper chicken.
If you feel like Chettinad food, don’t pick up the phone, pick up the karandi instead – this is so much better and definitely safer for your tummy. I almost always end up with an upset stomach the day after we eat hotel chicken. I love the RealGood Chicken that sells in department stores. It’s always fresh and it’s already cleaned, cut and neatly packed which means absolutely zero prep-work with the chicken. Cooking chicken just got even easier.
Ours is a chicken crazy family and every weekend it is chicken at home and I need to find new ways to spin it. Not that our family will ever get bored of chicken. It’s just that I’d be bored of cooking it the same way every time. But there is a wonderful charm in making that familiar oft-repeated dish which comes so naturally, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, stir, mix, done. You don’t measure, taste or adjust seasoning. You just know. The only thing that I make that confidently is the vegetable biryani and maybe bulls eye. Everything else, I still like to check.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Chicken – ½ kilo
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves – 1 stem
Onions – 2 medium sliced
Oil – 5 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Grated Coconut – from half a coconut (3/4 cup)
Whole Black peppercorns – 2 tbsp
Sambar Onions/Shallots – 6
Curry Leaves – 1 stem
Cumin – 1 tsp
Ginger – 1 inch scraped
Garlic – 5 cloves peeled
1. Wash and clean chicken. Pat dry and set aside.
2. In a Kadai/skillet, add 1 tbsp oil and all masala ingredients other than grated coconut and sauté for 2-3 minutes or till the onions are slightly browned around the edges and the curry leaves are crisp. Add the grated coconut and fry till the coconut is dry and is starting to turn brown. Switch off. Let cool and grind to a coarse paste adding very little water. Keep aside.
3. To the same kadai, add 4 tbsp oil and when hot add the curry leaves. Fry till they turn soft. Add the sliced onions and sauté till they turn translucent. Then add the chicken and turmeric powder mix well. Let cook on high till the chicken turns white. Cover and cook on medium-low till the chicken is cooked through (about 10 minutes). Uncover, add the ground paste and salt and mix well. Cover and simmer till the oil separates and the masala has browned considerably – another 10-15 minutes. Uncover and mix it up, scraping the bottom at intervals to prevent the masala from sticking. Drizzle the last tbsp. of oil during the last 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Switch off. Serve hot with rice or roti.