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Pepper Chicken Chettinad

 Published 2008-Aug-21   Updated 2022-Nov-21

- Submitted by Rani

(Kozhi Milagu Varuval, Milagu Kozhi Varuval, Kuru Milagu Kozhi Varuval)

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I am always cautious about winters as my son has wheezing problem.The chill climate, cool water and the misty mornings make him sick and I always take come extra precautions every year. This has become a common problem in this polluted generation. I have tried homeopathy, allopathy and siddha medications but nothing seems to work for him.

It was one Monday morning and the whole night he hadn't slept due to cold and wheezing. I wrote a leave letter for 2 days and went to school to give it. His class teacher Prema is a pleasant lady I have ever seen in my life. After each and every sentences a smile comes as a comma from her face. When I gave her the leave letter, she gave me some home remedies for cold. She said me to give more of pepper and chicken regularly to prevent cold and wheezing. She also asked me to give this medicine while the kids gets cold, throat infection and cough - 3 drops of honey, 2 pinches of pepper powder, few drops of ginger juice. Mix all these and give it everyday to kids and it works wonders.

As I drove to the house, I stopped in the chicken shop near by. I decided to make 'Pepper Chicken'. Pepper Chicken is also known as Kozhi Milagu Varuval and is a famous dish from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. It is a spicy dish but very aromatic and tasty. Pepper plantations usually are found in hill stations. It is a fruit that is dried and used as a spice. Pepper is a climber plant that is rich in Vitamin A, C and K. It is also rich in fiber. Ayurvedic doctors always stress on the importance of pepper as a home remedy.

I started cooking the pepper chicken and it just took some 20 minutes to prepare it. Capsicum can also be added to  this Pepper Chicken for a different taste. My son got up around 11 a.m. and I served him the aromatic Pepper chicken with some hot rice. Within an hour, he started feeling better. Some people take medicines as food. Some food are like medicines that appears like a boon from our God Almighty.

In my experience, whenever cough becomes unstoppable, bite one peppercorn and keep it in your mouth for some half an hour. It gives immediate relief. After that experience, rather than giving kids medicines immediately while they suffering from cold, I always make this Pepper chicken

Recipe for Pepper Chicken Chettinad

Preparation Time : 10 minutes 
Cooking Time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4


  • Chicken - 1 lbs (app. 1/2 kg)
  • Onion - 2 (chopped)
  • Tomatoes - 2 (diced)
  • Green chilli - 1 (slit)
  • Ginger Garlic paste -1tbsp
  • Whole Garam Masala - (Cloves, Cardamom - 2 pieces each, Cinnamon, Bay Leaf - 1 piece each)
  • Red chilli powder - 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Crushed black peppercorns - 1.5 tbsp (preferably freshly crushed)
  • Lemon Juice - 1/2 of a lemon
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 2 strands
  • Salt - 2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves - to garnish
  • Oil - 2 tbsp


  1. Marinate the chicken with the lemon juice, salt and turmeric powder.
  2. Heat oil in a deep vessel. Add the mustard seeds and fennel seeds for tempering. After it splutters add whole garam masala.
  3. Add chopped onions and green chilies. Saute until golden brown.
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste and curry leaves. Saute everything for 5 mins.
  5. Add tomatoes and saute it until it becomes pulpy.
  6. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and about 1/4 cup of water. Saute everything for 10 mins in medium heat. When oil comes out it is the correct consistency.
  7. Now add chicken pieces and toss well. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes. I prefer this as a dry dish so I do not add any water. If you want gravy, add about 1 cup of water.
  8. After the chicken is cooked, add the crushed pepper powder and check for seasoning. Mix well and switch off.
  9. To garnish add chopped coriander leaves and some more fresh curry leaves.

Detailed Steps to make Pepper Chicken

Heat oil in a kadai and pop the mustard seeds and fennel seeds. Also add the whole garam masala.

Pepper Chicken Steps Pepper Chicken Steps

Add chopped onions and slit green chilies. Saute until it turns golden brown.

Pepper Chicken Steps

Add the ginger-garlic paste and curry leaves. Saute well.

Pepper Chicken Steps

Add tomatoes and cook until it becomes pulpy.

Pepper Chicken Steps

Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and about 1/4 cup of water. Cook for 10 mins till oil starts oozing out.

Pepper Chicken Steps

Now add chopped chicken pieces and toss well. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. 

Pepper Chicken Steps

After the chicken is cooked, add some crushed pepper powder and some fresh curry leaves.

Pepper Chicken Steps

Mix well and switch off. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and some fresh curry leaves.

Pepper Chicken Steps

Serving Pepper Chicken

Pepper Chicken

More Chicken Recipes

Malabar Chicken Curry Malabar Chicken Curry Nattu Kozhi Uppu Varuval Nattu Kozhi Uppu Varuval Chicken And Vegetable Saute Chicken And Vegetable Saute Chicken Noodles Soup Chicken Noodles Soup
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Comments (2)

Person   ()
What isp parsley
Person   ()
Parsley is an Italian herb that is similar to coriander leaves.

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Old Comments

Comment by Nindi Dharan
Hi rani i had always been trying to get a good recipe for pepper chicken. In tried your recipe and I simply loved it. Simple to do and yet so tasty. Could you please let me know if I could use the same recipe for mutton? Also do you have a recipe for mysore mutton. Would really appreciate it. Thanks.

Reply :-
Thank you Nidhi for trying Pepper Chicken Chettinad. You could try the same recipe for mutton. You can roast and grind "2 tblsp- coconut flakes/dry coconut, 1 tsp-poppy seeds. 1 tsp- fennel seeds" and add it at the end. It tastes great.

Comment by Annie San
Hi Rani,
Just now I made this recipe. I also made Capsicum rice submitted by Dahlia to go with your chicken. The combination is so good. Thanks

Reply :-
Hmm!! Yummy combination..

Comment by malar malar
Hi dals!
I tried your chicken soup and pepper chicken receipes.cameout very hubby was so happy to eat..will be trying brinjal chops today!!!!!!

Reply :-
Hi Malar, Good to hear that. Do try the brinjal chops too and give your comments.

Comment by  shariq dhinda

Reply :-

Comment by  cynthia ashwin on 19 February 2010 08:02AM
awesome................thankyou ............

Reply :-
U r welcome Cynthia!!!

Comment by Diana Maben on 08 June 2009 04:01AM
Hey Hi... Am a new cook so was going through recipe sites....And then found this one from the searches....I decided to try Pepper chicken chettinad ...And am so glad it came out fantastic... My husband was so happy... I made jeera rice from your recipe itself and it was a beautiful combination.... Thank You so much...

Reply :-
Thanks a lot Diana. Your comments are highly valuable. Continue to try the other recipe and get back with your comments.

Comment by Fatimah Thaga on 28 October 2008 02:14AM
Hi, As my family is coming to my home for EID, I had tried this recipe together with the Jeera Rice and everyone was commenting on this new dish. It is not spicy and well-like by children. I have used boneless chicken. Do post new recipes.

Reply :-
Hi Fatimah, Good to hear that. All the recipes are given with medium spice level. You can modify it according  to your taste.

Comment by Dafni on Saturday, August 23, 2008 7:24:46 AM              
hai,i tried out pepper chicken. it came out well.planning to do naan soon.

Reply :-
Good. Do try naan too.

Comment by Suja on Mon, 8 Sep 2008 20:52:58
There is a seperate tradition for chettinad recipes. I do not see any of the ingredients for this variety other than the name. Please do not post recipes like this.we would appreciate the good ones ,the one in the picture looks more like some gooyee chicken gravy.

Reply :-
hi suja, thanks for the comments. chettinadu cuisine is the spiciest and most aromatic due to the use of all fresh spices. in this busy world, if you do have the time, you can go ahead and fry and grind all fresh spices for you chicken.this recipe is a quick version to get that same authentic chettinadu flavour. Do give it a try. The result will be superb. Anyways thanks for your feedback. Do go through and try the other recipes too. Expecting your comments frequently,

 Published by on and last updated on 2022-11-21.