A fiery hot dry curry from the south of India, Chicken Chettinad is typified by its reliance on black pepper for both heat and flavour and is a real barnstormer.
Pepper Chicken Chettinad.
There are a whole host of Chicken Chettinad recipes, or indeed Chettinad chicken, on the web and I have no idea which of them are authentic. I do know which sort of iteration is my favourite.
Unsurprisingly it is this one!
Chettinad chicken is essentially a pepper chicken dish, no not that sort of pepper chicken!
While it may be true that there is a variety of iterations of Chicken Chettinad. The common theme among them all is the importance and prevalence of black pepper.
I have mentioned numerous times how much I love black pepper. In fact I think it is the most underrated, or at least most taken for granted spice in the kitchen.
It is equally as capable of providing a punch of heat as any chili. As an example, it is the principle spice source in my Mulligatawny Soup, probably the spiciest recipe on my site!
Chettinad Chicken Curry.
As curries go this one is fairly new to me, it certainly was not a regular on Indian restaurant menus in the UK. This is very much a south Indian chicken curry, most British Indian Food is heavily influenced by North India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. So it is not really surprising that it is relatively new to me.
Just like all food Indian food has massive regional differences, and there aint no such thing as ‘just a curry’.
I have seen many ‘wet’ versions of this curry and it just isn’t for me. I am sure many regular readers will know I very much favour a much thicker dryer sauce in almost all of my Indian Curry Recipes.
I’m definitely not down with the curry as soup ‘thing’.
Black Pepper, Saint and Sinner…
I love black pepper, it is one of my favourite spices and one I even tried to grow myself without any success! Avid gardeners may want to check out this how to grow pepper guide.
Undeniably black pepper can add so much to a dish but it can very much be overdone. Or even on some occasions completely inappropriate in a dish.
Like many people I grew up with salt and pepper on the table and it was typically put on dishes without even checking… Because that was just what happened.
Now I don’t even have salt and pepper to put on the table.
It is all done during the cooking and throughout the cooking but it is not an exact science. I am a huge advocate of tasting food as you go.
The majority of my recipes contain no measurements for seasoning although unusually this Chicken Chettinad recipe does.
But seriously you have a spoon use it, double dip if you need to. But please check your food as you are cooking and season as you go.
Most importantly if you think black pepper is too overpowering for a dish then do not use it. Although whatever you do, do not try and skip the black pepper in this recipe!
Pepper Chicken Chettinad
- 500 g Chicken Thigh Boneless and skinless.
- 50 g Shallot Very finely diced.
- 3 Cloves Garlic Mashed.
- 20 g Ginger Grated.
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil Neutral.
- 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 1 Tbsp Black Onion Seeds
- 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
- 1 Tsp Ground Fennel
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
- 2 Tsp Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 100 ml Water
- Add the black pepper, coriander seeds and onions seeds to a dry pan and then toast for 5 minutes until they become fragrant.
- Afterwards take these seeds and blitz in a spice grinder.
- Then add the oil to this pan over a medium heat and when warm add the shallot and fenugreek leaves and fry until softened and golden (around 10 minutes).
- Add the chicken and stir for two minutes before adding the garlic and ginger and cooking on for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the spices, alongside the sugar and salt, this includes the spice blend we ground earlier cook for a further minute.
- Pour in the water and reduce the heat to medium low and allow to cook for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, adding more water if required.
- Serve with rice and lots of chopped coriander.