Cheat’s Indian Black Pepper Chicken

Indian food is one of the great joys of life – the spices, the simple ingredients, the layers of rich, melty meat coupled with fresh punchy flavours. It is food made with love, and often, time – which none of us have. Not for us the slow-stirring, dry-roasting, mortar-and-pestle grinding dedication to creating a flavour bomb for dinner. No, we want it and we want it now (slow down, Veruca).


So this cheat’s Indian Black Pepper Chicken will have you whipping up a Masterchef-worthy meal with nothing more than a frypan and a stick mixer. We don’t even bother with cinnamon quills or chopping ginger root.

It’s shortcuts all the way, baby. The hardest part? Wiping the drool from your chin as the aroma of this show-stopper develops while it cooks.

45 minutes to simmer? You’ve got time for a workout, sister. Think how much sweeter the reward will be when you’ve sweated for your dinner. Go on, this chicken will wait.

Cheat’s Indian Black Pepper Chicken

Super shortcuts to a flavour-bomb of a dish. All the flavour, none of the stress or mess.
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


  • 8 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp minced garlic or 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200 g red onion, sliced
  • 250 g passata
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 800 g chicken thigh, skinless, boneless, cut into bite-size chunks
  • pinch pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 cups water, plus extra as needed


  • First make the black pepper paste. No mortar and pestle required – just chuck the black peppercorns, fennel, cumin, coriander and chilli in a dry, non-stick pan over medium heat until toasty and fragrant. Blitz with a stick mixer or food processor with garlic, ginger, turmeric and a splash of water to form a paste. 
  • Heat oil in a large frypan over high heat and add the onion, cardamom and cinnamon, cooking until the onion is translucent. Add a splash of water if it starts to stick.
  • Add passata and cook down for one minute, before adding your black pepper paste. Cook, stirring continuously, for about 8 minutes, until the paste and passata are lush and dark (and your neighbours have come a-knocking for dinner – it smells THAT good!).
  • Sprinkle the sugar and salt into sauce and stir to combine. Add the chicken, stirring to make sure the sauce coats the chicken pieces, then add 2 cups water and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45-50 minutes until chicken is fully cooked and sauce is deliciously thick.
  • Serve topped with coriander and flaked almonds, with a side of rice – or broccoli, broccolini or cauliflower if you’re low-carbing it.
Keyword chicken curry, Indian


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