North Indian Pepper Chicken

Incredible curries come along once in a while. This is most definitely in that category. This dish was absolutely sublime. Black pepper takes centre stage to offer up a heat filled, dry curry from the North of India. The flavours are big, peppery and really delicious. It’s not the prettiest of curries, but more than makes up for it in taste. A top 10 curry of all time.

800g chicken thigh fillets (cut into large chunks)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
4 garlic cloves (grated)
3 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 onions
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
30 curry leaves (fresh)
1/2 cup frsh coriander (chopped)

Spice Mix:
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 dried red chillies
4 cardamom pods
4 cloves
2.5cm piece cinnamon (roughly crumbled)

Combine the chicken with the garlic and ginger and set aside.

To make the spice mix, grind together all the spices either with a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Set aside.

Heat the ghee or oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat until just hot. Gently fry the onions for 5-6 minutes until soft and golden brown. Turn up the heat slightly and add the spice mix. Stir for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the yoghurt and stir well then add the chicken, garlic and ginger mixture together with the curry leaves and salt. Stir well for 5 minutes and make sure the heat of the pan is nice and hot again before pouring in the coconut milk. Let this come to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium/low. Stir frequently to avoid sticking until the liquid has all but been absorbed (about 15 minutes). Turn the heat to very low, put the lid on and let the curry cook for a further 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Stir in half the coriander and check for seasoning. Sprinkle over the remaining coriander and serve with Indian roti and lemon wedges to squeeze over.

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