February 22, 2018
Chettinad is a region in Tamil Nadu renowned for its subtle yet spicy cuisine. There are many iterations of this curry. It highlights black peppercorns, a signature spice of the region, which have originated from the south of India.
Makes 4 cups
4 chicken legs (thighs with drumsticks)
1 tablespoone black peppercorns, lightly pounded
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
10 to 15 kari leaves
4 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 cups onions, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger purée
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 to 3 serrano peppers, sliced lengthwise
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)
Dollop of plain yogurt
Place the peppercorns in between a cloth towel and pound with a hammer until the pieces are broken up. Cut the chicken thighs in half and marinate in the peppercorns, garlic, yogurt and kari leaves. Let the chicken rest for 15 to 20 minutes up to 24 hours.
In a heavy bottom stock pot, heat the ghee and fry the onions until translucent or lightly golden brown. Add the marinated chicken and fry for another 5 to 7 minutes on medium heat. Lower the heat then add the ginger purée, coconut milk, ground black pepper and salt. Cover the stockpot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Lower the heat, then stir in the cardamom, sliced serrano peppers and the juice of one lemon. Garnish with chopped cilantro, pomegranate seeds and a dollop of yogurt.
If using boneless chicken, reduce the cooking time in half.
For a vegetarian option, replace chicken with large chunks of butternut or chayote squash.
For a richer version, substitute 1/2 cup of cream for coconut milk. Add a bit more if it is getting dry.
December 02, 2022