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Black Pepper Chicken Curry (Indian)

Pepper Chicken (for making the pilaf)

Tender pieces of chicken seasoned with garlic, ginger, and pepper. You can serve this recipe on its own or use to make Chicken Rice Pilaf.
Course Entree
Cuisine Indian
Author Alamelu Vairavan and Margaret Pfeiffer


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 whole dried red chili pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 1/2-inch long slivers of cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper Cumin Powder (page 9)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
  • 1/4 small red onion, cut lengthwise into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro


  1. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and reserve.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (the oil should be hot but not smoking). Add red chili pepper, bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. Stir until cumin seeds change color from light brown to semi-dark brown.
  3. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes while stirring.
  4. Add reserved chicken to skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until chicken begins to turn opaque.
  5. Add Black Pepper Cumin Powder, garam masala, curry powder, and salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook about 15 to 20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding an additional 1 tablespoon water, if needed, until chicken is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Garnish with red onion and cilantro.