Beyond Curry: Chicken Pepper Fry

Beyond Curry

Inspired Indian home cooking.

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[Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]

If you're looking for a reason to get out of that dent in the couch and into the kitchen without too much effort, this is the recipe for you. It's more of a let-it-do-its-thing-in-the-pan kind of recipe so it's perfect for lazy folks.

Chicken Pepper Fry can have many flavor variations depending on the region where it's prepared. Primarily you'll find it in the south of India, where pepper is the king of spices. This version is from Kerala, a state where the pepper vine veils walls and roofs, and finds its way into almost every meal.

The oil is the key to the flavor of the dish because the spices infuse into it and coat and fry each piece of chicken until the flavor of the pepper and other aromatics goes into the meat. The onions and tomato give the dish some body and add thickness to the gravy. You can reduce the amount of pepper if your spice threshold is low, but I'd recommend that you don't go too low.

You can have it with white rice, pilaf, roti, or bread. In front of the television.

About the author: Denise Dsilva Sankhe is a writer & creative director by profession. But that's only when she isn't eating her way across India. She recreates this delicious cuisine in her Mumbai home, which she shares with her husband, who has long since given up his determination to have salads for dinner.