South-Indian style Pepper Chicken Fry Recipe

Tamilnadu Milagu Kozhi Varuval

Image result for chicken pepper fry

You can give some rest to your woollen sweaters this winter for this “hot and spicy pepper chicken curry” will give you all the warmth. The husband totally fell for this delicious chicken curry. I am sure; he fell not just for its colour and taste, but for its “Vicks vaporub” action too. Yeah, if the roasted onions and garlic cloves in the dish give the warm smell, and if the tomatoes and the lime adds a tangy taste, it is the “roasted pepper” that soothes a tough throat suffering from a cough and cold. You sure can feel the remedy as when the chicken slides down your throat. The hot pepper curry goes in and your cold comes out (so have a tissue paper ready ). A very very simple “pepper chicken fry recipe” this is. Reason 1: “NO-marination” required; Reason 2: NO coconut required. This version of chicken pepper fry is different from how my mom usually makes the koli varuval (Chicken fry) at home.

Recipe source: Not me, but my mom got interested in watching cookery shows once I told her that I’m “Shelving Recipes” in my blog. She dictated this Pepper Chicken Fry recipe over the phone and I noted it down in my Kitchen notepad. I made this pepper chicken twice since my mom shared the recipe.

I am hosting a “No-Mokkai day” today in my blog since the recipe has no “behind the scenes” story to it. Fine, I see some of my regular readers cheering up the moment I said “no-mokkai” . You can scroll down to see “how to make Chicken Pepper Fry”. [By the way hon, by “no-mokkai” I did not mean that I totally abandoned the storytelling habit. That will continue for the many other non-veg recipes that I’ve queued to the shelf in my blog (sinister laugh……)]

Pepper Chicken | Kozhi Varuval

  • PREP TIME: 10 min
  • COOK TIME: 40 min
  • TOTAL TIME: 50 min
  • YIELD: 3-4
  • DIFFICULTY: medium
  • RECIPE TYPE: Spicy Side dish


  • Chicken (boneless) – 250 g
  • Black pepper/Milagu – 3 tsp.
  • Fennel seeds/Soambu – 2 tsp.
  • Cumin seeds/Jeeragam – 2 tsp.
  • Onion (chopped) – 1 cup
  • Ginger – 1″ piece
  • Garlic – 6 cloves
  • Salt – 2 tsp. (adjust to your taste)
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp.
  • Water – 1/2 to 3/4 cups
  • Tomato (chopped) – 1/2 cup
  • Curry leaves – 2 spring
  • Fresh coriander/Cilantro/Kottha malli – handfull
  • Lime – a small piece


How to make Pepper Chicken Fry:

Step 1.

Clean the chicken. [Once I’m done cleaning the chicken with water, I use 2 tsp. sesame oil and 1 tsp. turmeric powder to mix with the chicken and wash them one last time before it’s used for cooking]. If your chicken pieces are big, cut them into medium size pieces.

Step 2.

Set the ingredients to make the chicken pepper ready on the kitchen table. Keep a dry wok on the stove in medium flame. Add the black pepper and fennel seeds. Dry roast them until the pepper gives a popping sound and the fennel seeds turn slightly golden. This step takes around 8 minutes.

Step 3.

Once the fennel seeds turn golden and the black pepper release the roasted aroma, add cumin seeds. Roast until the cumin seeds release a nice flavorful smell (identifiable by the slightly enlarged size of the cumin seeds). Cumin seeds get roasted very quickly. Takes about 2-3 minutes. Once done switch off the stove.

Step 4.

Cool down the roasted spices. Until then we’ll finish the chopping jobs. Peel, wash and chop the onion. Wash and cut the tomato. Wash the curry leaves spring. Cut the fresh coriander leaves. Keep the cut vegetables aside. Peel the garlic cloves and remove the ginger skin. Grind them together without adding water. We do not need a smooth paste, blend just until you do not see any big chunks of garlic/ginger inside the mixie jar. Keep the freshly ground ginger-garlic paste aside.

Step 5.

Once the roasted spices are cooled to room temperature, grind (crush) them in the mixie for few seconds. Again, we do not need a nice powder. We need a coarsely ground powder. Whir them for about 5 seconds.

Step 6.

Keep a dry wok on the stove in medium flame. Pour the oil in it and let it get heated for two minutes. Add the chopped onions. Sauté the onions nicely until they become translucent. Takes about 7-10 minutes.

Step 7.

Once the onions turn translucent and slightly golden, add the ground ginger-garlic paste. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes, until the ginger-garlic paste loses their raw smell.

Step 8.

Once the ginger-garlic paste releases a nice aroma, add the cleaned chicken pieces. Mix them well. Sauté the chicken for 5 minutes, until they turn pale.

Step 9.

Once the chicken turns pale releasing its juice, add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well.

Step 10.

Add water (1/2 to 3/4 cup should do fine. Just up to the level of the chicken) and mix well. Close the wok with a lid and cook the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked (takes about 10-12 minutes), open the lid and mix the content well. Cook without the lid until the chicken absorbs almost all the sauce (water).

Step 11.

Once the chicken absorbs all the water, sauté the chicken nicely for 2 minutes and add the chopped tomatoes. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes (until the tomatoes turn soft and mushy).

Step 12.

Squeeze the lime juice from the lime. Mix well. Then add the powdered spices. Mix well

Step 13.

Cook for 5 minutes. Then add curry leaves and finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix well. Close the lid and reduce the flame to low (sim) and leave it closed until the tomato juice is completely absorbed by the chicken. Once the chicken turns dry, switch off the flame. [Do not have the chicken too much on the stove since it’ll turn very hard. Switch off the flame once it turns to dry consistency]

Step 14.

Serve hot with Biryani/Capathi/Rice.

3Ts [ Tips | Tricks | Tactics and Secrets ] to make Pepper Chicken Fry

  1. Take care that you do not roast the spices too much because they’ll get bitter in taste.
  2. Do not add too much water, else the chicken will get over-cooked and you’ll end up with “Chicken Idlicha Varuval” instead of chicken milagu varuval . Chicken gets cooked just with the juice of its own. So, 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water should suffice for the quantity mentioned in this recipe.
  3. Curry leaves add great flavour to this chicken curry. Do not miss adding them.
  4. Actually guys, you know what. The chicken tastes amazing like a simple gravy at Step 10. itself. But had I said that on Sep 10, you probably might not be having any chicken left to proceed with Step 11.
  5. You can try Vegetarian version of Chicken pepper fry with Colon/mushrooms, paneer/cottage cheese, cauliflower, Soya chunks etc.


Eat Well!

Categories: Food

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