Fiery Black Pepper Chicken

  • 1 x 1.6kg whole chicken, skinned and jointed, or 8 chicken thighs, skinned
  • 4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Pinch of salt, plus ½ tsp
  • 3 onions, half thinly sliced and half roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3cm piece ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 300ml water


1. Put the chicken in a large dish. In a small bowl, combine a quarter of the black pepper, the turmeric, lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then rub all over the chicken and leave to marinate, covered, for a few hours.

2.Blend the roughly chopped onions with the garlic and ginger to make a paste.

3.Toast the remaining pepper in a hot, dry pan until there's a delicious nutty, toasty scent and the pepper begins to smoke. Shake the pan so the pepper doesn't burn.

4.Heat a good glug of oil in a heavy-based frying pan (one with a lid) and fry the sliced onions until they turn soft and golden. Add the onion paste and continue frying until all the liquid has evaporated and the onion is starting to brown.

5.Add the toasted pepper (reserve a generous pinch for later) and the chicken including all the marinade juices, the 300ml water and ½ tsp salt.

6.Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through – add a splash more water if the curry gets too thick.

7.Serve the curry sprinkled with the reserved toasted black pepper, alongside some boiled rice, warmed chapattis and the salad.

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