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Complete Indian Cooking
by Meena Pathak
This is very popular in southern India. If you want extra heat, add more black pepper. It is a wonderfully aromatic dish because of the cardamom and fennel.
Serves 4

Black pepper chicken
(Kozhi kurumelagu)


    • 2½ tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 cardamom pods
    • 3 cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 200 g (7 oz) shallots, sliced
    • 1 tablespoon garlic pulp
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground fennel
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
    • 250 g (9 oz) tomatoes, chopped
    • 450 g (1 lb) chicken breast, skinned and cut into
    • 2.5-4 cm (1-1½ in) cubes
    • 1½ teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed
    • salt, to taste


Heat the oil or ghee in a karhai, wok or frying pan and when hot, add the whole spices. After a minute add the sliced shallots and cook for 5-10 minutes until the shallots colour. Add the garlic pulp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the fennel, coriander, turmeric and red chilli powder and sprinkle with a little water to prevent sticking. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over a moderate heat for 10-15 minutes. Add more water if required.

Add the chicken pieces and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes over a low heat. Add the crushed black pepper and season.


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