[Photograph: Prasanna Sankhe]
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.
Note: Ginger-garlic paste can be found in most Indian markets. Alternatively, combine equal parts grated fresh ginger and garlic.
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- Yield:Serves 2
- Active time: 30 minutes marination, 20 mins cooking, 10 mins prep
- Total time:1 hour
- 1 pound chicken breast or thigh, skinned, legs divided into thighs and drumsticks, breasts split in half
- 1 tablespoon juice from about 1 lime
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated ginger, divided
- 2 tablespoons grated garlic, divided
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns (or less to taste)
- 2 tablespoons coconut, vegetable, or canola oil
- 1 medium onion sliced thinly (about 1 cup)
- 2 small green chillis slit lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 10 curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 large tomato split in half lengthwise
- 1/2 cup water
Combine chicken, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon ginger, and 1 tablespoon garlic in a large bowl and toss to coat. Transfer to a plastic bag, refrigerate, and let marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
Grind the whole peppercorns in the mortar and pestle until roughly ground. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, remaining 1/2 tablespoon ginger, remaining tablespoon garlic, and chillis and cook, stirring, until fragrant, taking care not to brown the onions, about 5 minutes total. Reduce heat to low. Add fennel powder, cumin powder, turmeric, and curry leaves. Stir vigorously until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Add soy sauce, sugar, tomatoes and the marinated chicken. Fry the chicken in this flavoured oil until browned, about 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan if anything sticks.
Add water and cover. Allow the dish to cook for 10 minutes covered, Then remove the lid, increase heat to high and stir around till water has dried up totally, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot with rotis, dosas or with bread.