Pepper Chicken Curry | Kerala Style

Pepper chicken curry, Kerala style is a delicious spicy chicken curry that goes well with ghee rice, appam, puttu, porotta and many others. The highlight of the recipe is definitely the presence of a decent amount of black pepper. The curry is made creamier with cashews which gives it a rich and creamy texture balancing out the heat from the black pepper.

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I am sure many people are familiar with the dry pepper chicken version but I always like it will some gravy especially if the gravy has a creamy cashew base like this one. The best part about curries is its versatility, it goes with almost everything. You can just cook one dish and just be done with it! So, if you are looking for a recipe that requires no preparation using just the pantry staples that are available in any Indian (especially South Indian) household, then this is it! This is the recipe for you.

Here’s how to make Pepper Chicken Curry, Kerala Style

Coconut Oil?!

Yes, I strongly recommend using coconut oil for this recipe because it is a Kerala style recipe after all. But if you don’t like the taste of coconut oil or if you don’t have it with you, then you can substitute with any other vegetable oil, sunflower should be fine even though it will lack in flavor a bit. We here use a generous amount of coconut oil to cook the onion, garlic and ginger well. The one brand of coconut oil which I personally like to use whenever I run out of home-made ones that we get from Kerala is Saras. My Uppa introduced it to me years back and I like their coconut oil and spices. So, if you are in the Middle East and are looking for a good reliable spice brand, then I recommend Saras. FYI, this is not a sponsored post. I just wanted to share my experience with you guys. If you feel otherwise, feel free to drop your comments.

The base

So, after the oil has become hot, first add in the ginger-garlic paste. Here I have used 1 kg of chicken and 4 tsp each of ginger and garlic paste. So when we cook any kind of meat or poultry, I think we need quite a generous amount of ginger and garlic. I have a habit of adding these first before I add in the onion. Once the raw smell of ginger-garlic fades, add curry leaves and chopped green chilies. Here we use a lot of green chilies, but don’t worry it won’t be too spicy since we are not using red chili powder and also tone the spice down a bit with the cashew paste. Now, if your green chilies are really hot you can use fewer chilies. Mine are the ones from UAE so they are not as spicy as the Indian green chilies. To this, we add chopped onion and saute it on a medium-low flame till it turns translucent. Add some salt here.


Once, the onion has turned translucent, add turmeric, garam masala and coriander powder. Here again, we use around 6 tbsp of coriander powder (which again I assure you is gonna be fine :D). Make sure you add coriander powder in the beginning because it will take some time to cook. Here add ground black pepper, you can crush it coarsely as well instead. Keep sauteing on a low flame till the spices completely get cooked and the raw smell fades.


Once, the spices have cooked properly, add in the tomatoes. Then saute this till the tomatoes turn soft. Naturally, tomatoes will release some water and we can add in a little water here just enough to make it a thick paste. Let this cook again for a while.

Now we add in the chicken pieces (1 kg) and coat them well with the spices. cook this for sometime and add enough water to form the gravy of your desired consistency.

Now, close with a lid and let it cook on a medium low flame for 15 minutes. Let it cook slowly, please don’t be in a hurry. This will help the chicken pieces absorb all the flavor from the spices well.

After 15 minutes, you will find that the gravy has turned a little thicker. This is when you add the cashew paste (just grind cashews with 2 tbsp of water or enough to form a smooth paste) which will make the curry creamier and thicken. You can add some pepper now and let this cook for another 3-4 minutes and then turn off the flame.

This curry gets better as it sits. So this will thicken after it cools and will absorb all the flavors. Like any other meat dish, it tastes best after a few hours.

So, that’s it! It’s a pretty simple recipe that will impress everyone.

Pepper Chicken Curry | Kerala Style

Recipe by Nihala ParveenCourse: Lunch, Dinner, MainCuisine: South Indian, Indian


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Pepper chicken curry, Kerala style is a delicious spicy chicken curry that goes well with ghee rice, appam, puttu, porotta and many others.


  • Coconut oil – 4 tbsp

  • Ginger paste – 4 tsp

  • Garlic paste – 4 tsp

  • Curry leaves – 15 no.s

  • Green chilies – 12 (chopped)

  • Onion – 3 (small, chopped)

  • Tomato – 1 (large, chopped)

  • Turmeric – 1 tsp

  • Garam masala – 1 tsp

  • Coriander powder – 6 tbsp

  • Black Pepper – 4.5 tbsp (ground)

  • Water

  • Salt

  • Chicken – 1 kg (cut into medium-sized pieces)

  • Cashews – 20


  • Heat coconut oil in a Kadai or a deep pot and add ginger-garlic paste to it. Saute this well till the raw smell of ginger-garlic fades.
  • To this, add curry leaves and chopped green chilies. Saute this as well for some time.
  • Now, add chopped onion and saute well till it turns translucent.
  • Once the onion has cooked well, add the spices i..e, turmeric, garam masala, coriander powder and ground pepper. Saute this really well till the spices are well cooked. You will know that it’s done when the raw smell of the spices are gone.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes and mix well with the spices. Add a splash (5-6 tbsp) of water and combine well. Let the tomatoes turn soft and cook in the spice mix.
  • Now, add in the chicken pieces and coat well with the masala,
  • After cooking this for a while on a medium-low flame, add water (1 cup or more) depending on your desired gravy consistency.
  • Close with a lid and let it cook for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, check if the chicken has cooked well. By now, the gravy will have thickened a bit.
  • To make it even creamier, add in the cashew paste (20 cashews ground to a fine paste with a little water). MIx this well and let it cook for a few more minutes. Check the taste, if you desire, you may add some ground pepper here as well.
  • Turn the flame off and the pepper chicken curry is ready to be served.

Recipe Video

Lastly, if you make this pepper chicken curry, Kerala style, be sure to leave a comment! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!

Also, if you loved this, I am sure you will like my Payyoli Chicken Fry recipe as well. Make sure you check that out too!

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