Lately, I have started to tweak family recipes – something which takes a lot of courage especially in the one like mine. The moment I tell mom about it over the phone, she pretends to overhear most of the times. There are lots of ifs & buts involved coupled with disinterest, she would start asking about the weather or complaining how her new tailor ruined her salwaar kameez (south asian dress). So typical of seasoned cooks? Right?Add to that the myriad of opinions which everyone else (other than the cook) has – this should be done this way, its wrong to put that , this should have cooked little less or more ..on & on & on. You see, the family is full of fussy eaters. Anyhow, while I did so,I realized how stamped the recipes are – with the ingredients allowed ; taking away few of them might steal the soul of food.
I won’t say that I have created something better or spectacular – but definitely different; in a good way. If ever there were a justification for the variants I make of family recipes, this chicken recipe would be my winning card. Usually, made with loads of onions & garam masala, I ended up saving the two. Mom makes this way more soupy, you can mix rice or dip roti (flatbread) into it. I cooked it dryish with a different spice selection – P absolutely enjoyed it.
As the name suggests, the star here is fresh ground kali mirch or coarse black peppercorn. Combined with lots of ginger & garlic, black peppercorns provide an uncomplicated kick to the dish – which turns out to be the highlight. Succulent chicken coated in a thick masala – I like to serve this as starter or snack with drinks. The particular thing that I absolutely like about this dish is the color from turmeric,which makes it so bright & appetizing. Less oil & easy to cook, this one is sure to delight all those of you who feel that indian recipes are difficult to follow.
It is always worth having such special recipes up your sleeve for those lazy supper nights or when you have unexpected guests at home.This one is versatile – you can wrap up inside flatbreads & veggies to make rolls or top your pizza with it.I sometimes shred the leftovers into bits & stuff inside puff pastry dough & bake for a quick brunch.
Preparation time – 25 minutes (including marination time)
Cooking time – 20 minutes
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2″ cubes
- For garnish – chopped cilantro, scallions
- Fresh lemon/lime juice (to taste)
To marinate :-
- 2 tbsp thick plain yogurt
- 1.5 tbsp fresh lemon/lime juice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2″ fresh ginger root, minced
- 1.5 tbsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground
- 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
For tempering :-
- 2 tbsp mustard oil (substitute with sunflower/vegetable/canola oil)
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 2 Serrano chillies, chopped (adjust to tolerance)
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- salt (to adjust)
Marinate the chicken in all the ingredients listed for 20 minutes, refrigerated. Once ready to cook, take out the marinated chicken from the refrigerator & let sit on countertop.
In a thick bottomed, wide-mouthed pan, heat up the oil on high.If using mustard oil, heat it to a point when it’s slightly smoky.For other oils, heat up till you see ripples on the surface. Meanwhile, using a mortar & pestle, coarsely grind the coriander & cumin.Once the oil is heated, reduce the heat to medium & wait for 2 minutes. Add the mustard seeds & let them crackle.About 10-15 seconds. Also, add the chillies next & let them crisp up for another 10-15 seconds. Tip :- Be extra careful, mustard seeds & chillies splutter a lot when added to oil.
Next, add the coarsely ground spices to the oil & stir for about 30-35 seconds or till you smell the aroma. Start adding marinated chicken 5-6 pieces at a time to the pan and stir-fry over high heat for few minutes, tossing continuously.Repeat with another batch of chicken pieces. The idea is to lightly brown the outside of the chicken but still keep it juicy inside.Lower the heat once all the chicken has been added.Add the leftover marinade(if any) & stir frequently. Cook on low heat till the oil separates on the sides of the pan and the chicken is cooked. About 12-15 minutes. You can cover the pan for last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Adjust the salt, toss well and remove.Let sit covered for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Garnish with chopped cilantro or scallions, squeeze fresh lemon juice & serve hot.
- The cooking times will differ depending on the size of chicken pieces and the cut used. If using chicken breasts, the cooking time will be about 6-8 minutes for 2″ cubes.
- If you like dish less hot, de-seed the chillies before you mince them.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!