Have you ever tried South Indian style pepper chicken in restaurants in India? If not, you should definitely keep it on your list to try. Because it’s that delicious and addictive!
But as it happens pepper chicken fry is not an appetizer that is easily found on the menus of Indian restaurants in US.
It’s the reason why I learnt to make it at home, to indulge in it any time I want. And I’m glad I did, because making pepper chicken at home is really simple and easy.
It’s in-fact simple enough that even beginners can make it with ease. And delicious enough to impress your family, friends and guests at family gatherings and potluck parties.
Try it! I’ve shared my pepper chicken recipe with step by step photos below.
You can pair it with something like this Chicken Fried Rice – makes for a delicious combo!
How to Make Pepper Chicken Dry
Pepper Chicken is made by marinating boneless chicken (or you can use bone-in chicken too) in pepper & fennel spice powder, and then roasting it with south indian style tempering, onions, ginger and garlic.
Marinating the Chicken
1. Clean & cut the chicken thigh meat into bite sized chunks. I cut into cubes, but you can cut into any shape you desire. Just cut the chicken into relatively same sized pieces to help it cook evenly. Set aside.
2. In a dry mixer, crush peppercorns and fennel seeds into a fine powder. Add salt to this pepper & fennel spice powder & mix well. The spice rub is ready.
3. Marinate the chicken thigh cubes in this spice rub for at-least 1-2 hours.
Making Pepper Chicken Masala
4. In a wide pan, heat up the oil, add black mustard seeds, and wait till it crackles. Then add in curry leaves & red chilies, and roast for 1-2 minutes.
5. Next add the chopped onions & salt, and saute till the onions turn light golden brown.
6. Once the onions are done, add in the ginger garlic paste & saute for 1-2 minutes till the ginger and garlic loses its raw flavor.
7. Then add in the marinated chicken pieces and mix well.
8. Cook covered for 10-15 minutes & then for 10-15 minutes with the lid off, stirring intermittently, till all of the chicken is cooked well.
Indian-Style Pepper Chicken is ready to serve!
You can use bone-in chicken instead of boneless chicken to make this recipe. It tastes delicious too.
If you are using boneless chicken like the recipe suggests, it’s best to stick to chicken thigh meat, as chicken breasts dry out easily. So use chicken thighs for tender and juicy pepper chicken.
Find More Chicken Recipes:
Whole Chicken Tandoori – step by step recipe with photos
Crispy Chicken 65 – done 3 ways – deep fried / oven / airfryer
This recipe has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in 2019.
Indian Pepper Chicken Recipe - Restaurant Style
- 4 pounds boneless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp black peppercorn
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 3 tsp salt
For Main Roast
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 20 curry leaves
- 4 red chillies
- 2 cup chopped onions
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp ginger garlic paste
Chicken prep and marination
- Clean and cut boneless chicken thigh meat into bite sized chunks / cubes. Set aside.
- In a dry mixer – crush the black peppercorns & fennel seeds into a fine powder.
- Add salt to this pepper & fennel powder and mix well. The spice rub for marinating the chicken is ready.
- Apply this spice rub to the chicken pieces ensuring to coat the chicken pieces well. Let the chicken marinate in this spice mix for at-least 1-2 hours.
Making Pepper Chicken Masala
- In a wide pan, heat up the oil, and add black mustard seeds & roast till the mustard seeds begin to crackle.
- Then add the curry leaves (washed & dried) and red chilies (each slit in two parts), and roast for 1-2 minutes.
- Next add in the chopped onions & salt, and saute till the onions turn soft & translucent to light brown.
- Then add the ginger garlic paste & saute for 2 – 3 mins, just till it loses its raw flavor.
- Finally add in the marinated chicken thigh pieces & mix well.
- Cook covered for 10-15 minutes on medium high heat, stirring intermittently. And then cook with the lid off for 10-15 minutes till chicken is cooked well.
- Restaurant Style Pepper Chicken Dry is ready to serve.
- If you want, you can choose to use chicken breast meat instead of chicken thighs. But adjust the cooking time accordingly as chicken breasts cook faster and dry out easily. For juicier pepper chicken, use chicken thigh meat.
- You can also use bone-in chicken instead of boneless chicken for this recipe.
I’ve done my very best to share the exact measurements, and outline every step, but if something is not clear to you, or you have questions about quantities or alternatives, or anything at all, feel free to ask in the comments. I promise to reply to every single query.
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