Chicken with Peppercorns and Shredded Ginger

I rarely buy Indian cookbooks – with so many resources at hand (mum, mum-in-law, granny) it doesn’t make sense for me to spend good money on an Indian cookbook (yes I’m cheap), if all else fails there’s bound to be a recipe on the web somewhere.

However, I did recently purchase Anjum Anand’s ‘Indian Food Made Easy’. The plan was to give it away as a Christmas present. I’ve spent a couple of days going through the book, and I must admit, her recipes look fabulous. I couldn’t resist her Chicken with Peppercorns and Shredded Ginger, so I made that for dinner tonight. I think I’ll keep the book and find something else for the Christmas gift. It’s too good to give away!

Here’s the recipe, I have changed it, so it might be quite different from her original recipe.

(a) You’ll need:
Marinade the chicken for 1 hour at least (overnight is better): 

  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 kilo chicken thigh fillets (trim skin, remove fat and cut into 1 inch pieces)

(b) You’ll need for the gravy:

  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 medium red onion – peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 thai chillies – finely sliced
  • 2 inch piece ginger – peeled and finely sliced into match-sticks
  • 1 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns (grind to a fine powder)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Fresh coriander
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Oil (I use olive oil)

Method:
Heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions, cardamom, bay leaf and pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. Fry until onions are translucent. Add 1/2 cup water and cook on medium heat until onions are soft. Once onion is soft, crank up the heat, fry until golden brown.

Add cut ginger, chillies, coriander powder and black pepper. Add 1/2 cup water and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes, keep stirring.

Once water has evaporated a little and the mixture is thick, push it aside. Add 2 tablespoons of oil in the middle of the pan. Add the chicken (with the marinade). Make sure you spread out the chicken in a single layer. Leave the chicken to brown. Turn the chicken over to brown the other side. Add salt to taste (be carefule as the marinade has chicken stock) -stir well.

Put the lid on the pan, lower the heat to lowish-medium. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. There should be no need to add more water, the chicken will release its juices. Just keep an eye on the pot anyhow to prevent it catching.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the lid. Let all the liquid evaporate and the gravy thicken and stick on the chicken. This could take up to 20 minutes. Stirring the chicken at intervals to prevent it burning, but let the chicken caramelise.

Add half the chopped coriander, keep stirring. The oil will separate from the gravy and the whole dish will look glossy. Squeeze lemon over the top. Stir in the rest of the coriander and serve. Enjoy!

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