Chettinad Pepper Chicken

I used beef for this recipe instead of chicken, which meant a slightly longer cooking time. I loved the spices, not too strong and not too mild, it was perfect as is!

4 tablespoons oil
6 oz onions
1″ cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons urad daal
3 cloves, crushed
3 peppercorns, crushed
3 bay leaves
5 cardamom pods
15-20 curry leaves
1 large tomato, chopped
2 1/4 lb chicken, skinned and cut into 1″ cubes
2 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
8-10 dried red chilies
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons water

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add cinnamon, cumin, fennel, urad daal, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and curry leaves.  Stir briefly, and add onions.  Over medium-low heat, fry the onions until the are soft and lightly colored.

Meanwhile, in a small pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.  When hot, add cumin, red chilies, coriander, fennel, peppercorns, and poppy seeds.  Stir together and fry until lightly roasted.  Cool slightly and transfer to a mortar and pestle.  Add garlic and ginger, and crush  to a powder.  Add turmeric, salt, and water, and stir to make a paste.

Once onions are done, add spice paste and braise over high heat for about 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of water in necessary to prevent sticking. Add tomato and fry for another 2 minutes.

Add chicken pieces to the onion and spice mixture, stirring until they are well coated. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to simmer until chicken is almost cooked, about 20-25 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken pieces. Over high heat, reduce the sauce until it is very thick, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan, and gently fold into the sauce. Lower the heat to medium, and cook another 5 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Flavors of India, by Madhur Jaffrey.

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