Black pepper (Hindi: kali mirch) ceases to be the understudy and comes forward to play the lead role in this pungent medium strength curry featuring a creamy sauce balanced with lemon juice and chef’s ‘special herbs and spices’.
This curry works well with chicken. Make it with cauliflower instead for a delicious vegetarian alternative.
Feeds 1-2. The recipe one of many in my second Gourmand award-winning book, Indian Restaurant Curry at Home Volume 2.
- 3 TBSP Oil (45ml)
- 1½-2 tsp Black Peppercorns, toasted and coarsely crushed
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Fennel Seeds (optional)
- 75g–100g Onion, very finely chopped
- 1½ tsp Ginger/Garlic Paste
- 1 tsp Kasuri Methi
- 1¼ tsp Mix Powder
- ¼-½ tsp Salt
- Pinch of Garam Masala (about one eighth of a tsp)
½ tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder (or regular, optional)
- 330ml+ Base Gravy, heated up
- 1½-2 TBSP Tomato Paste (see p19)
- Pre-cooked Chicken, Lamb, Tikka, Vegetables, etc.
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 3-4 splashes of Worcestershire Sauce (optional)
- 4 TBSP (60ml) Single Cream
- Finely sliced Ginger juliennes for garnishing
- Black Pepper powder for garnishing (freshly ground is best)
- Fresh Coriander Leaves for garnishing
- Add the whole black peppercorns to a dry frying pan on medium heat. Toast them gently for 1 minute to enhance the flavour. Gently shake the pan a few times to prevent burning.
- Then coarsely grind them with a pestle & mortar or a spice/coffee grinder.
- Add the oil to a frying pan and heat up to medium high.
- Throw the crushed black peppercorns in along with the cumin seeds and the optional fennel seeds. Fry for 30-40 seconds to infuse flavour into the oil, stirring frequently.
- Now add the chopped onion. Fry for about 1–2 minutes until the onion begins to soften and turn translucent. Stir from time to time to avoid burning.
- Add the ginger/garlic paste and continue to cook for 20-30 seconds or until the sizzling starts turning into a subtle crackling sound. Stir diligently.
- Next add the kasuri methi, mix powder, salt, garam masala, and the optional chilli powder.
- Fry for 20-30 seconds, stirring very frequently. If the mixture dries out and sticks to the pan add a little base gravy (e.g. 30ml) to avoid burning the spices and to give them enough time to cook properly.
- Add the tomato paste and your choice of pre-cooked meat or vegetables. Turn up the heat to high and mix well.
- Add 75ml of base gravy, stir into the sauce, and leave on high heat with no further stirring until the sauce is reduced a little, tiny craters form around the edges, and there is visible separation of oil.
- Next add a second 75ml of base gravy, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan once when first added, allowing the sauce to reduce again.
- Then add 150ml of base gravy, the lemon juice, sugar, and optional Worcestershire sauce.
- Stir and scrape the pan then leave to cook on high heat for 4-5 minutes. Stir and scrape once or twice to mix the caramelised sauce back in, but do this only to prevent the sauce from sticking too much and burning. It’s important to let the sauce adhere to the bottom and sides of the pan, which produces a great flavour.
- A minute or so before the anticipated end of cooking, turn the heat down to low and add the single cream. Stir in, taste, and season with extra salt, sugar, lemon juice, and/or black pepper if desired.
- Aim to get a medium thickness with a smooth sauce. Add more base gravy if needed.
- Garnish with ginger juliennes, freshly ground black pepper, and finely chopped fresh coriander.
- All spoon measurements are level. 1 tsp=5ml. 1 TBSP=15ml