Tellicherry Chicken Curry


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a main course

Appears in



By Christine McFadden

Published 2008

  • About

This recipe comes from Das Sreedharan, owner of the Rasa chain of Keralan restaurants in London. Tellicherry, or Thallasserry as the town is now called, is well known for meat delicacies, thanks to the resident Muslim community. This is one of the most popular curries, seen both in local restaurants and at home. Black pepper is used in two ways here – as a background flavour in the early stages of cooking and as a condiment in the final tempering. It is a wonderful dish and very easy to make.


  • garlic cloves 3, roughly chopped
  • ginger root 2.5 cm/1 in chunk, thinly sliced
  • groundnut oil 4 tbsp
  • onions 2 medium, finely sliced
  • curry leaves 10
  • green chilli 1, halved lengthways and deseeded
  • black peppercorns 4–5, cracked
  • coriander seeds 1 tsp, crushed
  • turmeric powder ½ tsp
  • salt to taste
  • boneless skinless chicken thighs 6, cubed
  • water 225 ml/8 fl oz
  • Garam Masala 1 tsp
  • freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp


Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, curry leaves, chilli and cracked peppercorns. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are golden.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the garlic-ginger paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Stir in the coriander seeds, turmeric and a little salt, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the chicken to the pan, give it a stir, then add the water and garam masala, mixing well. Cover and cook gently for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the freshly ground pepper just before serving.