Chicken Kali Mirch has become a bit of a staple at my house over the last few months since moving to Nottingham. We’ve begun to gravitate towards boneless chicken since coming here due to a number of reasons. The most compelling reason being it’s pretty easy to repurpose into a sandwich filling, a wrap, a quesadilla all on short notice making it good for on-the-go breakfasts, quick lunches and just generally to make feeding the kids a bit easier. This and my Hariyali Chicken recipe are now permanent fixtures on my weekly dinner menu!
What I love most about this recipe is how quickly it comes together and how minimal the ingredients are. All you need is:
- Boneless chicken
- A small selection of spices – salt, black pepper, cumin and coriander powder
- Fresh coriander and green chilli, to garnish (optional!)
The simplicity of the ingredient list also translates into simplicity in flavour too – but not the kind of simplicity that has your taste buds crying for a sprinkling of chilli powder and garam masala.
The predominant flavour in this recipe comes from the black pepper. But, I mean, I didn’t really have to say that, did I… because c’mon, the name?! Lol.
In Pakistani cooking, black pepper often plays but a minor supporting role in a long list of spices. It doesn’t often stand on it’s own in the spotlight. In this Chicken Kali Mirch, the black pepper pretty much holds down the fort in the best way possible – all the other flavours sit back and allow the black pepper to have its big moment. You will love it. The flavours are bold and mature, yet surprisingly mild enough for some children to enjoy too!
How to make Chicken Kali Mirch
- Start by taking an onion, diced finely, and adding it into a wok/karahi style dish with some oil in it. It’s important that the onions are diced as finely as possible since it helps ensure they melt into the gravy quicker. This dish doesn’t take a long time to cook, so larger pieces of onions won’t melt in time. Fry the onions until they begin to turn golden
- Add the garlic, chicken and spices. Fry these until the chicken no longer remains pink
- Add in the yogurt (full fat, ideally). Stir and fry the entire mixture for 8-10 minutes until the liquid evaporates, the mixture becomes very concentrated and the oil begins to separate around the edges
- Add in half a cup of water, bring to a boil and then cover and cook on low for 20 minutes
- Uncover and allow the chicken to cook uncovered over a medium high heat for a few minutes, until the gravy thickens, looks glossy and again, the oil begins to separate at the edges.
- Garnish with fresh coriander and green chillies and serve hot!
Is Chicken Kali Mirch spicy?
This isn’t a spicy curry per se, but the black pepper does add some heat. It’s not as sharp as the spice from red chilli powder.
If you’d like the curry to be spicy, I recommend adding in some green chillies when you add in the yogurt. You can add the green chillies whole, slit or ground into a paste.
A very important thing I’d like to add here is do not use red chilli powder in this recipe. I trialled this recipe once with about 1/3tsp of red chilli powder and my goodness, the way the yogurt took on the red colour of the chilli powder – it looked like a boneless chicken karahi! It was such a deep shade of red which looked very beautiful mind you, but it wasn’t the sort of colour you typically get for a Kali Mirch dish. If you want more heat, add more black pepper or green chillies.
What kind of chicken goes best in Chicken Kali Mirch?
My personal preference is boneless chicken thigh – it’s just so juicy, tender and flavoursome! In the pictures you’re seeing in the post, I’ve used chicken breast and it works fine too, it’s just less juicy and more firm than thigh.
You can actually also use ground/minced chicken (keema) too – thigh or a combination of breast and thigh is my recommendation for keema.
You can also use bone-in chicken too – you can use 500g bone-in chicken in place of the 500g boneless chicken stated in this recipe
How to avoid yogurt curdling when adding it in
This is such a common problem – I’ve been there and I have literally wept over curdled yogurt. The two best strategies I personally have found effective in avoiding this is:
- Beat the yogurt VIGOROUSLY before adding it in to the pan. And I mean VIGOROUSLY.
- This tip only works if you have plenty of free time – take the pan off the heat, allow it to cool down and once it’s just warm (not hot), add in the yogurt and then bring the pan back onto the heat and slowly bring the heat up. This is pretty time consuming though and I prefer the first option
How do I serve Chicken Kali Mirch?
My favourite way to serve it is with naan or roti. I also love love love to have it in a sandwich, wrap, paratha roll – it’s very non-desi in flavour so it also works pretty decently in salads and pasta too – not that there’s anything wrong with a desi flavoured pasta AT ALL 😉
Other recipes you may enjoy
- 3-4tbsp oil
- 1.5 medium onion, diced finely
- 1 heaped tsp garlic paste
- 500g boneless chicken
- 3-4tsp coarsely ground black pepper (add 3 initially then add the 4th tsp towards the end if you feel like you want a stronger flavour)
- 1tsp salt
- 0.5tsp cumin powder
- 0.5 coriander powder
- 150g full fat yogurt
- Fresh coriander and green chilli, for serving
- Heat the oil in a wok/karahi style dish. Add the finely diced onions and fry over a medium to high heat until the onions begin to turn golden
- Add the garlic, chicken and spices. Fry everything until the chicken no longer remains pink
- Add the yogurt. Stir everything together and continue to sauté the mixture until the yogurt concentrated into a thick, jammy paste, looks glossy and the oil begins to separate around the edges.
- Add half a cup of water, bring to a boil and then cover and cook on low for 20 minutes
- Once the time is up, uncover the curry and then cook over a medium to high heat for 5 minutes, until the curry begins to look glossy and the oil separates around the edges. You can dry it out till it is your desires consistency or alternatively keep the gravy a little thinner
- Serve garnished with fresh coriander and green chillies.