Peppery and nutty with a kick, this curry demonstrates the different levels of flavour that pepper can bring to a dish. In this recipe, it is toasted and cooked into the sauce and then sprinkled on at the end for extra aroma and heat.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (193 votes)


  • 1 1.5 kg (3½ lb) whole free-range chicken, skinned and jointed, or 8 chicken thighs, skinned
  • 1 tbsp freshly cracked Tellicherry or Kampot black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 3 white onions, half roughly chopped and half thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 cm (1¼ inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • steamed rice, chapattis, salad, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time 3 hours

Put the chicken in a large dish. In a small bowl, combine one-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.

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

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

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

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

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