Pan-grilled peppers and masala chicken

Chicken thighs, marinated and cooked with bell peppers, chillies, cashew nuts, spices and condiments. Some potatoes tossed in too.

When it comes to cooking chicken, somehow, I love playing around and mixing up ingredients, spices and condiments from my masala dabba (spice box), pantry and kitchen. And I invariably end up with a recipe, and a dish, which I can proudly claim to be an original one, straight from my kitchen to yours 😊

It’s one of those late afternoons or evenings, and you want to end up with a tasty bird on the dining table, which your family would love to gobble up. Well, in this case, I raided my fridge and pantry, not to forget my ubiquitous spice box, and tossed everything in the food processor. It came out to be a very flavourful, rich and hearty marinade. To keep things easy, nothing like using a ziplock bag for the chicken and marinade to marry for some hours, till they are ready to be tossed once more in a hot frying pan. A good 45 minutes or so later, a wonderfully cooked chicken awaits you and the family, waiting to be devoured.

One more thing – if one desires some gravy in the dish, add a little water or stock toward the end. Otherwise, it can be left on the dry side, with the marinade well absorbed in the chicken and potatoes.

It’s all about versatility in this recipe and dish, and thankfully, the ingredients all seem to marry well together.


5 skinless chicken thighs, with bone-in

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

3/4 tsp. garam masala powder

For the marinade:

3 dried Kashmiri red chillies or Ancho chillies

A few raw cashewnuts

4 large garlic cloves

3/4 tbsp. cumin seeds

3/4 tbsp. fennel seeds

3/4 tbsp. coriander seeds

An inch piece of cinnamon

1 small onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped. Can use a handful of yellow peppers too.

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Soak the whole red chillies and cashew nuts in hot water for 15 minutes.

Sauté the bell peppers, onions, garlic and whole spices in a tablespoon of oil, for 3-4 minutes, till the veggies start sweating. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add them, along with all the remaining ingredients and red chillies and cashew nuts, in a food processor. Blend to a paste.

Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours. I toss it altogether in a ziplock bag, easy or no-clean up for later.

Heat a non stick pan on high heat. Add little oil (the marinade already has oil). Add the marinated chicken. Brown on both sides for a few minutes. Lower heat, add a little water and scrape out all the masala marinade at the bottom of pan, stir and cover and simmer till chicken is tender and cooked.

It takes about 45 minutes. In between, turn the chicken pieces around. Also add the potatoes mid-way and stir well with all the masala. Add a little salt, if desired. Squeeze some lemon juice too.

And there you have it, a flavour-packed and satisfying grilled pepper masala chicken dish at the table.

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