Chettinad Pepper Chicken (Koli Milagu Masala)

Course : Curry
Serves: 1
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8 medium red chiles dried, broken into halves
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
5 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
1 piece fresh ginger; peeled and roughly chopped (1 1/2 inch)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons cooking oil
3 pieces bay leaves
5 whole cardamom pods
1 piece cinnamon stick -- broken
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 whole cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried lentils -- yellow
2 medium onions -- peeled, chopped
1 large tomato -- chopped
2 1/2 pounds chicken pieces

Preparation / Directions:

1. Make the spice paste: heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat in a small frying pan, when hot, add the chiles, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, black peppercorns and poppy seeds. Fry briefly until roasted. Put them in the spice grinder and grind to a powder. Empty the lot into a blender, ad the garlic, ginger, turmeric and salt to the blender, along with 6-8 tablespoons water. Blend until you have a smooth paste. 2. Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. When hot, add the bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves and lentils. Stir and fry briefly until the lentils turn reddish. 3. Add the onions and fry until they are soft. 4. Add the spice paste, fry for about five mins, adding water if necessary t stop it sticking. 5. Add the tomato, fry some more 6. Add the chicken and make sure it is well mixed in. Add about 2 cups of water - enough to cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer on low until chicken is cooked. - 20 mins 7. Get the chicken out with a slotted spoon, then reduce the sauce until it's very thick, by boiling it for about five mins. Add the chicken back in, stir for a minute or two, then serve (on boiled rice again, yummee) Recipe adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's "A Taste of Indi

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