Making Indian food can seem a little intimidating due to the long list of incredible spices and ingredients in many recipes. Even when you’ve settled on a recipe, it can be tough to find the specialty spices in local grocery stores. However, if you’re looking for a spicy, comforting Indian dish that can be made in a snap, I’ve got the perfect recipe for you. Best of all, the spices aren’t hard to find.
Packed with turmeric, ginger, fennel seeds, onions, and pepper, this chicken dish definitely doesn’t lack flavor. And my favorite part? You can throw this dish together in about 30 minutes.
The first time I made this dish, I heated the oil over high heat and added the mustard seeds. Before I had time to react, the seeds were popping and flying all over the kitchen. Elliott heard the shrieks from the kitchen and assumed that I had started a grease fire. Instead, he found me cowering behind the wok’s lid trying to contain the flying spices. A few days later, I’m still finding mustard seeds in the kitchen.
To prevent the mustard seeds from becoming airborne, keep the seeds moving by gently shaking the pan while frying. You only need to fry them for 20 to 30 seconds in order to bring out their sweeter side. If you fry them too long, you’ll end up with a bitter and burnt taste. Just add them to the hot oil and keep a lid handy if you need to keep them in the wok. Once they have mostly popped, add the other ingredients to cool the pan.
Feel free to omit the dried red chilis to make the dish less spicy and more kid-friendly. Elliott and I love all things spicy, so we even added an extra chili and left all of the seeds in. It added a nice bit of heat without overpowering the dish.
I served this Pepper Chicken with a simple side of whole wheat couscous. Couscous can be made in less than 5 minutes, so it’s a great staple to have on hand for last-minute sides. I’m really bad about planning out side dishes ahead of time, so it’s great to have a few quick backup options on hand. If couscous isn’t your thing, you may also serve the chicken with homemade naan or long-grain rice.
This Pepper Chicken is also packed with protein and is great on the waistline. I have included the nutritional information under the recipe, based on 200 grams of chicken per serving.
I have a feeling that this is only the beginning of our Indian food binge.
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1½ tsp fennel seeds, coarsely ground
- 3 dried red chillies, coarsely chopped
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1½ tbsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground
- ½ tsp salt, more to taste
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous, cooked
- 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they stop sputtering, about 30 seconds. Add the ground fennel seeds and red chili peppers. Sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes, until the onions starts to get soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, pepper, and salt. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.
- Serve immediately with couscous and garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley.