Monday, 4 August 2014

Chettinad Pepper Chicken Masala | Naatu Kozhi Pepper Masala | Pepper Chicken Curry

Chettinad cuisine has taken a prominent place among the top cuisines around the world as these dishes have been well known for their notable aroma, flavors and fantabulous taste. You can never miss to see a Chettinad dish on any Tamilian hotel and the varieties jotted will definitely make you drool. Chettinad chicken pepper masala is such a dish and holds is position among the best. It serves as good side for rice, parathas, chapatis, and any Indian flat breads. Using country chicken and whole spices gives a better flavor to the dish; guess what?? people in Chettinad region also prefer to use naatu kozhi (country chicken) rather than the boilers in their preparations. I have hence prepared the dish with naatu kozhi and I must say that it made the dish taste yummilicious. Using this kind of chicken is definitely gonna consume some extra time and effort, but trust me its all worth it. The hot spicy and sizzling flavors of the dish will best tickle your tastebuds and its aroma is enough to make you drool. You can adjust the consistency as to how you want it and customise it as runny gravy or thick masala. Pepper curry lovers you should not miss this one..!!


Serves 2 people
Total Ppeparation Time - 45 to 60 minutes
  1. Country chicken / Naatu kozhi - 250 grams 
  2. Big onions - 1 (peeled & sliced)
  3. Curry leaves - From 3 sprigs (or a handful)
  4. Ginger - 1 inch sized piece crushed 
  5. Cinnamon stick - a small piece
  6. Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp (plus 1 tsp for marinating) 
  7. Salt - As per taste 
  8. Oil - 5 tbsps 
For The Ground Masala
  1. Coconut - 5 pieces (about 2 inches long) 
  2. Shallots - 5 (peeled and chopped) 
  3. Cashews - 5 (optional)
  4. Ginger garlic - 2 teaspoon (or use 1 inch ginger piece and 2 cloves of garlic) 
  5. Peppercorns - 1.5 tablespoons
  6. Cumin seeds - 1 tablespoon 
  7. Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon (plus some 1/2 tsp  for seasoning)
  8. Kalpasi / Black stone flower - 2 small pieces 
  9. Cloves - 1
  10. Star anise - 2 small pieces from one star anise
  11. Cinnamon stick -  1 inch long piece


  • Wash chicken pieces well and marinate with turmeric powder and salt; set aside for 10-15 minutes. Then wash it again well. 
  • Grind together, coconut pieces, cashews, ginger garlic, kalpasi, shallots, peppercorns, clove, star anise, fennel seeds, one cinnamon stick into a very fine and smooth paste and set aside. (Sprinkle some water while grinding, but don't make it runny) 
  • Now place a cooker on flame and add the chicken pieces into it. Pour water until the chicken pieces gets immersed well and there is 2 inches water above the pieces. Add salt and turmeric powder, few curry leaves, crushed ginger and stir well. Close the cooker with its lid and wait until steam or pressure oozes out of the nozzle on the cooker's lid; then place the regulator/whistle over it. 
  • Cook for 30 minutes on low flame. 
  • Set cooker aside until pressure drops. Now open the cooker and remove the chicken pieces. Collect the stock water you will need it later. (Check if the chicken pieces have got tender if not pressure cook again for some more minutes; the bones won't be as tender as broiler chicken even after cooking so check the flesh part)
  • Now place a kadai on flame and add oil. After it heats up, add remaining curry leaves, fennel seeds, one small cinnamon stick and saute for a few seconds.
  • Then add sliced big onions and saute until it turns brownish in color. 
  • Now add the cooked chicken pieces and the coconut spice paste; stir well. Then pour the stock water you've collected after cooking chicken and stir. 
  • Cook covered until the raw smell of masala leaves. Then remove the lid and let the pan open; cook well until the water content reduces and the curry thickens. (Adjust the consistency according to your wish by altering the quantity of stock; add more of the it to get a gravy, add lesser quantity to get a masala kind) 
  • Garnish with few curry leaves and serve hot!!

TIP 1: You can make the same with broiler chicken also, in that case you don't have to pressure cook the chicken pieces. Just add ground coconut masala to the cooker along with chicken and pressure cook for 15 minutes on a medium flame. 

TIP 2: If you do not get kalpasi in stores near by just skip it. Using kalpasi gives it a nice chettinad-ish flavor and aroma but that does not make any huge difference. 

TIP 3: Use whole spices to get the best out, but you can use spice powders too instead.

TIP 4: Country chicken (naatu kozhi) is always tough and requires more time to get cooked, some chicken differ from the other depending on the age. A small chick will get cooked faster when compared to a big one. So always enquire the chicken's age before you fetch it from the butcher shop and cook accordingly. 

TIP 5: While cooking country chicken add a few peppercorns and a piece of crushed ginger to eliminate odor and also to get rid of toxins that the chicken may have fed.  

A super aromatic and tasty gravy is now ready!! Serve with Parathas, Chapatis, Phulkas, or Rice and enjoy!!

Click here for Naatu Kozhi Kulambu Recipe


  1. My favourite pepper chicken and your recipe looks delicious!!!! Super tempting pictures!!!

  2. Kozhi masala is tempting me.Looks yummm Divya.

  3. Irresistible side dish, can have it happily with a bowl of rasam rice.

  4. My mouth is drooling :) gosh this is super tempting sis :) I want to have this right away.

  5. Mouthwatering. Looks too delicious.

  6. Divya so much knowledge about cooking.each and every step explains it. Hat's of to u. Nice mouth watering dish.thank u


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