Christine Manfield's Black Pepper Chicken and Onion Curry

This dish is an enduring favourite from Hyderabad, where black pepper is a prominent seasoning and heavily used in the robust, Andhra-style cooking. Subtlety is not key here, there should be a very obvious pepper kick to this curry, so add a little more if your palate prefers. For extra zing, Christine likes to add a few extra grinds from the pepper mill just as I serve.


1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 x 180 g chicken marylands, cut into thigh and leg joints
100 ml vegetable oil
2 brown onions, sliced lengthwise
½ cup onion puree (blend 1 white onion with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons finely shredded ginger
4 tablespoons coriander leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fried shallot slices


Place the ginger garlic paste, salt, lemon juice, turmeric, coriander, chilli and half the pepper in a bowl and mix to combine. Rub into the chicken. Place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the remaining black pepper and the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened and starting to colour.

Reduce heat slightly, stir in the onion puree and cook for a further 10 minutes or until onion is browned.

Increase heat to medium–high, add the chicken with its marinade and cook for 5 minutes to remove any excess liquid. Add 1 cup (250 ml) water and simmer, turning the chicken halfway through, for 15 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through.

Check seasoning and add a little extra salt, if necessary.

Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with shredded ginger, coriander leaves and fried shallots.