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Pepper chicken chettinad

You'll need

4 chicken breasts on the bone, skin on ½ tsp ground turmeric 8 golden shallots 12 cloves of garlic 1 tsp fennel seeds 6 dried red chillies 1 tbsp black peppercorns 5 tomatoes 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil To serve: Lemon rice and stirfried green beans


  • 01
  • Clean and trim the chicken breasts. (I prefer the skin left on because it keeps the meat moist.) Season to taste with sea salt and sprinkle with turmeric and set aside.
  • 02
  • Peel the shallots and garlic. Dry-roast half the fennel seeds with chillies and peppercorns over gentle heat, stirring constantly. Crush using a pestle and mortar. Crush the shallots and garlic in a blender, then mix in the pounded spices. Chop up the tomatoes roughly.
  • 03
  • Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Put in the rest of the fennel seeds and then the chicken breasts. Seal well on all sides and remove. Add the tomato and some salt. Stir and cook well. Add the garlic, shallot and spice mix and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Return chicken to the pan and simmer over low heat until it reduces to a thick sauce consistency (20 minutes). Serve with lemon rice and stirfried green beans.

"There are several versions of this classic dish from the south of India. When I visited the south and saw this being prepared by an expert from this region I was surprised to see the simplicity of the dish. I have used chicken breasts here but this dish can be prepared with chicken drumsticks or thigh fillets too." This recipe is from the book Qmin by Anil Ashokan (Allen & Unwin, $39.95 pbk).

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

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