This pepper chicken gravy is an easy marinated chicken curry that tastes even better than the creamy restaurant curries. Except that it does not have cream or any other hidden calories to worry about!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Chicken thighs are marinated in yogurt and spices, cooked in a delicious gravy and finished off with pepper, cumin and coriander leaves.
The peppery chicken flavor lingers on your taste buds until the next meal!
Like most of my curry recipes, making this pepper chicken masala is quite straightforward. It requires just a few ingredients you might already have in your kitchen.
I did not restrict myself to 5 ingredients like my easy chicken curry without coconut. But this decadent curry definitely has less ingredients than my Kerala chicken curry. Not that it is any less in flavor.
The secret ingredient of this recipe (well, not exactly, it’s right there in the title!) is freshly cracked black pepper. Read further to learn ALL the secret tips!
(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)
- Chicken: I used chicken thighs, but any cut is fine. I would recommend bone-in pieces, though. As in my curries like varutharacha chicken curry, bones add more flavor to this marinated chicken curry. (If you only have boneless chicken breasts, the smart option would be to make chicken qeema curry or chicken kofta curry!)
- Yogurt: As in recipes like jeera chicken, marinating in yogurt and lemon juice tenderizes the chicken.
- Freshly crushed pepper
- Ground cumin: Like pepper, fresh roasted and ground cumin makes the curry more flavorful.
- Chili powder
- Coriander powder
- Turmeric powder
- Garam masala: Homemade is great, but if you can’t make it, store-bought one is fine. (Please let me know in the comments section below if you want the recipe for garam masala.)
How To Make Pepper Chicken Gravy: Step by step
Marinate The Chicken
Marinate the chicken with yogurt, lemon juice and spices (except pepper and cumin) for an hour (upto overnight) in the refrigerator.
Roughly chop onions, ginger and garlic. Blend them to a smooth paste.
Make The Gravy
- Heat oil in a wok/ kadai. Add bay leaf and slit green chillies.
- Add the blended onion paste. Sauté on medium-low flame until well-browned.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes and sauté until they are cooked and completely mashed.
- Add the marinated chicken. Sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add water and mix until the gravy is well combined.
- Cover and bring it to a boil on high flame. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add Pepper and Cumin
Add pepper and cumin. Turn off the flame. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
What To Serve With Pepper Chicken Masala
Serve this pepper chicken gravy with any bread of your choice, roti or dosa.
You can also serve it with plain rice or flavored rice like lemon brown rice. We often eat this curry with steamed rice and an easy vegetable side like microwaved ladies finger fry, tandoori cauliflower, or mashed pumpkin with coconut.
Tips To Make The Best Pepper Chicken Curry
- Pepper: DO NOT use store-bought pepper for this recipe. Pepper tends to lose flavor quickly over time. Crush peppercorns using a pepper mill or spice blender. It is worth the effort. (Same as in rogan josh with chicken.)
- Roast: The curry tastes even better if you roast peppercorns before crushing.
- Do not boil the curry for too long AFTER adding pepper. Turn off the flame after simmering for a couple of minutes.
- Marinating the chicken is another reason why this chicken pepper masala is going to be an instant hit in your household. The longer you marinate, the softer the chicken turns out to be.
- Sauté: Third secret (or is it the fourth? Sorry, I lost count!) is to sauté the onion paste and tomatoes on medium-low flame as long as possible (like how we did for the Kerala egg roast recipe).
- Cooking time: The time I’ve mentioned here is for medium-sized bone-in thigh pieces. Adjust the simmering time based on the size of the chicken pieces. It’s better to check the chicken for doneness after 10 to 15 minutes of simmering the curry. The chicken should almost fall apart when you apply pressure with a spoon.
- Did you make the all-purpose curry paste? Add a heaped tablespoon when you sauté tomatoes.
Printable Curry Paste Recipe
Grab a printable copy of the curry paste that helps home cooks like you cook different curries in 30 minutes or less:
Like pepper-based curries? Try this pepper mutton masala, you’re going to love it!
More Chicken Recipes
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Hi! I’m Sheeba, welcome to Go Healthy ever after!
I have a passion for cooking delicious nourishing food that’s easy to cook with fresh natural ingredients free from additives or preservatives. The easy healthy recipes you find here will inspire you to cook with creativity.