3.4/5 rating (33 votes)

Black Pepper Chicken

Black Pepper Chicken Kozhumbu

  • Heat Hot
  • Serves 4
  • Prep 20 mins
  • Cook 1 hr
Black Pepper Chicken

Hari says

Black pepper is such an important part of Sri Lanka and South India cooking. Black pepper is where the spice trade began and is still most traded spice in the world. It crosses all culture and cuisines and in years gone by it had more value then gold. 

It grows on a vine and all the varieties of pepper come from the same fruit it bears. Black pepper is the cooked and dried unripe fruit, green pepper is the dried unripe fruit and white pepper is the ripe fruit seeds. Peppercorns contains peperine which is the chemical that gives it it's bite which is very different from the spiciness found in chillies.

The use of black pepper in this cuisine not only give heat but it adds a dark moody depth that is simply amazing. 

  • Ingredients
  • Method


  • 800g chicken thighs or 10 chicken drumsticks
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

Black Pepper Spice Mix

  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 10-15 curry leaves
  • 2 medium sized onion, sliced
  • 7cm piece cassia
  • 2 black cardamom (optional to add a smoky flavour)
  • 3 green chilies, slit (or to taste)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste


  1. Skin the chicken pieces and trim off any excess fat. If using thigh fillets chop them into bite size pieces.
  2. Marinate the chicken with lemon juice, salt, pepper, ginger and garlic for 20-30 minutes.

Black Pepper Spice Mix

  1. In a dry pan heat the whole spices for the black pepper masala until aromatic. Remove and put into a bowl and allow them to cool. Put the toasted spices into a spice grinder and blend to a fine powder.


  1. Heat oil in a pan on a medium heat and add the curry leaves, cassia bark, sliced onions, and a little salt. Sauté until the onions turn a golden brown.

  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes start to break down and turn mushy then add the sliced green chillies.
  3. Add pepper masala and turmeric then sauté for a minute.
  4. Turn the heat up and add the marinated chicken. Mix well and seal the meat with the masala. Place the lid of the pan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked turn up the heat and stir fry to reduce any remaining juice and intensify the flavour. This is a dry curry but if you prefer a sauce that's fine too.
  6. Turn the heat off and let the dish sit with the lid closed for few minutes before serving. 
  7. Serve with sliced red onions and a South Indian paroota.

N.B. You can vary the amount of pepper powder and green chilies to suit your spice level.

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Fat (g)7.0
of which saturates (g)2.3
Carbohydrates (g)1.8
of which sugars (g)1.4
Fibre (g)0.6
Protein (g)13
Salt (mg)0.60
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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