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Pepper Chicken

This curry gets better on the second day, so it can be made ahead of time. The Atreyas served it with bone-in thighs, which adds more flavor (not that this dish is lacking any).
By / Photography By Taylor Mathis | March 01, 2014


Fry all the spice paste ingredients in 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat for 2–3 minutes. Grind the fried spices with the onion, garlic, and ginger to a paste in a blender.

Heat remaining oil in a heavy pan and add the spice paste, turmeric, and curry leaves and fry for 4–5 minutes. Add chicken; cook until lightly browned. Add salt; stir thoroughly. Add 1 cup water and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to medium-low. Cook about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender enough to be shredded with a fork.

Garnish with chopped cilantro.

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Spice Paste
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 pods cardamom
  • 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  • 6 dried red cayenne peppers
  • 2 cups red onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 tablespoons light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
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