I always used to wonder, how much ever variation you do with your chicken gravy, it never turns out to be like the one you get in a typical Kerala restaurant. I don't even get the colour matched with the restaurant chicken. My chicken & the gravy would be either brown or red. And then I started asking the chefs of some of the restaurants I visited, about the secret ingredient. All the chefs had the same answer. "We add peppercorns". Then I started using peppers in my chicken. The taste improved but something was missing. But the real secret ingredient was finally revealed when I was browsing through some Kerala Chicken Recipes in Youtube.
I saw a cookery programme called "Taste of Kerala" & started viewing all the episodes. The host was very funny & I saw these videos just to see him talk. To my surprise, the dishes what he showed in the programme was mind blowing. And his show cleared all my doubts. "Green" Peppercorns is what you need to make your chicken that "Restaurant" like. The chefs said pepper but didn't reveal the colour of it. Hmm....Smarties!!
I tried the recipe at home & my whole house was smelling of coconut oil, curry leaves & crushed green peppercorns & I felt that am back home again. The taste was just amazing! My mouth watered when I was preparing this dish. It was that good. You too try it & you will know what am trying to say!! ;)
- 1 kg chicken (washed, cut in bite size chunks) bone or boneless
- 3-4 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 2 inch ginger (crushed in pestle & mortar)
- 6-7 cloves of garlic (crushed in pestle & mortar)
- 30 gm green peppercorns (pacha kurumulagu)
- 3 medium green tomatoes (if you don't get green, then can use red tomatoes)
- 3 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 10 curry leaves
- 3 tbsp coconut oil (can use vegetable oil as well but you won't get the typical Kerala taste)
- salt to taste
- Take a kadai or a deep based pan & heat the coconut oil. Add the finely chopped onion to it & saute well for 3-4 minutes.
- Meanwhile blend the green peppercorns to a coarse paste. You can even crush them in a pestle & mortar.
- Add the crushed ginger-garlic to the onions. Saute for 30 seconds. Now add in the coarsely blended green peppercorns to it & mix well. Add in the curry leaves too at this stage.
- After 2 minutes, add the coriander powder & turmeric powder & salt to it. Mix well. Then add the green tomatoes. Saute well for another 2 minutes.
- The masala for the chicken is now ready. You can now add the chicken pieces to eat. Add 1 cup of water or a required amount to help the chicken cook with the masala. Close the lid.
- The chicken will take about 15-20 minutes to cook in a medium heat. Open the lid now & cook the chicken again till all the water in the gravy is evaporated & the masala is well coated over the chicken. Add in the garam masala at this stage. Saute the chicken for another 2-3 minutes & then switch off the gas.