Chicken kali mirch, also called murgh kali mirch, is the Indian version of the ever popular pepper chicken. It's made with a few common ingredients and comes together very easily. Plus it's packed with flavor. No muss, no fuss! Instant pot instructions included.
Two more chicken curries you might enjoy are palak chicken (chicken simmered in spinach and cashews) and this boneless chicken handi.
Not in the mood for cooking something that takes hours to make and has an ingredient list a mile long? Try my pepper chicken for a meal that's healthy, easy and super-tasty. It's also called murgh kali mirch or kali mirch chicken (kali mirch - black pepper, murgh - chicken).
Every time I cook pepper chicken, it gives me pleasure to think that a very vibrant dish with such interesting flavors can be made so quickly and easily.
Yes, ginger-garlic paste is something you’ll need to make or buy if you don’t already have a batch in your fridge (it is one of the staples of Indian cooking). But apart from that, most people will already have the other ingredients.
The point is that you don’t have to go grocery shopping for special ingredients just to make it. It’s that straightforward!
Why this recipe works
- A truly easy recipe - no complicated steps and no degree in cooking required!
- Quick - 30 minutes is all it takes to put this dish on the table. Not bad, don't you think?
- Made with a few readily available ingredients - no difficult to find stuff that you'll use once in a while.
- Easy tools - a frypan is all you need. Plus a blender if you're making your own ginger garlic paste.
- Super tasty - there's something about chicken cooked in yogurt and seasoned with freshly ground pepper and green chillies that's totally out of this world!
- Healthy - there are no artificial colors or flavors in this recipe. Just lots of good protein and wholesomeness!
- Yogurt - imparts a tanginess to the chicken.
- Ginger garlic paste - use store-bought or make your own. See prep below.
- Black pepper - freshly cracked, coarse granules.
- Sea salt - salt makes everything taste better.
- Cooking oil - I like to use light olive oil for all my curries.
- Red onion
- Chicken - skinless and bone-in. Bone-in chicken has the best flavor. If you only have boneless chicken, however, you can use it in a pinch.
- Green chillies - add a bit of extra heat and flavor.
Preparation (5 minutes)
- Chop the onion roughly.
- Make the ginger garlic paste (homemade): put equal quantities of peeled ginger and garlic in a blender along with a few tablespoons water and blend to get a smooth puree. Use as required and store the rest in a sealed glass bottle in the refrigerator. Skip this step if using store-bought paste.
- Make the marinade and add the chicken: in a deep bowl, add yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, black pepper and sea salt, and whisk. Add the chicken and make sure to coat it well with the marinade.
Note: You can rest the marinated chicken for 10 minutes if you want to, but I have found that it doesn't make a difference even if you cook it instantly.
Cooking (25 minutes)
Step 1: Heat the oil in a medium-sized frypan and add the onion.
Step 2: Add the marinated chicken to the frypan and cook on high heat for about 2 minutes.
Step 3: Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 25 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Step 4: Add the green chilli and cook for 2 minutes.
Serve hot with warm naan.
A simple hack to make chicken kali mirch very flavorful
I have noticed that chicken kali mirch tastes much better with freshly ground, coarse black pepper. You can do this in two ways:
1. Use a pepper mill and turn it a few times on the coarse setting.
2. Grind some peppercorns in a spice or coffee grinder. Just a few seconds because, remember, you want coarse granules.
So, if you're planning to use the tired, spent black pepper that's been lying around in your kitchen cabinet for the last few months, ditch it, and get grinding fresh, black peppercorns while making this recipe.
Your pepper chicken will be punchier with this simple hack, I promise you that!
Instant pot instructions
Now, even though I posted this recipe for the stovetop, I get a lot of requests to make it adaptable for the instant pot too. So, here are the instructions for cooking it in the instant pot:
1. The prep steps will remain the same, of course.
2. Turn on your instant pot to sauté and add the oil in the steel insert. As soon as the oil is hot, add the onions and fry for about a minute on high.
3. Add the marinated chicken and cook on high heat for about two minutes.
4. Cancel sauté and make sure to give everything a good stir. Deglaze the pot. The yogurt will release a lot of liquid which should be enough to pressure cook the chicken.
5. Secure the lid and make sure the steam release vent is set to 'sealing'. Press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer to 5 minutes.
6. Once the timer beeps, wait for 5 minutes before releasing the steam and opening the pot. Switch back to sauté and add the green chillies. Dry any excess liquid that might be there. As the liquid evaporates, the curry will turn thick and shiny. Serve hot with your favourite bread.
- Grind the black pepper just before making this recipe. Don't use pre-ground pepper.
- Use full fat Indian yogurt or dahi. Greek or vanilla flavoured yogurts will not work in this recipe.
- Indian pepper chicken is typically a thick curry with less liquid. If there is excess liquid in your dish, make sure to cook it down until you get a dry(ish) gravy.
Best side dishes for chicken kali mirch
Chicken tastes fantastic with some basic bread or plain rice, but if you want to move away from the same old and do things differently, try some new side dishes to go with it. Here are a few recipes that complement it perfectly:
- Whole Wheat Naan - Soft, pillowy and healthy naan bread made with whole wheat flour or atta.
- Cumin Rice - Basmati rice flavored with cumin and other whole spices.
- Onion Raita - A quick and easy yogurt dip that is a must-have with curries.
- Bombay Potatoes - Crispy and spicy baby potatoes with soft insides.
These are just a few possibilities. Find a lot more recipes for what to serve with chicken curry in this post: 20+ Best Side Dishes for Chicken Curry. You'll never run out of ideas for interesting sides!
Other chicken recipes you might like
- Madras Chicken - A hot and vibrant chicken curry deeply flavored with spices.
- Chicken Korma - An authentic korma recipe with bone-in chicken in a rich sauce.
- Chicken Malai Tikka - Soft, juicy kababs on skewers that will melt in your mouth.
- Chicken Pulao - An easy, one-pot chicken and rice dish that's perfect for busy weekdays.
- Chicken Patiala - A luscious, restaurant-style chicken curry that goes very well with Indian breads like garlic naan or tandoori roti.
- White Karahi Chicken - A smooth, slightly spicy chicken curry with a delicate and creamy white sauce that you can mop up with warm naan.
Chicken Kali Mirch (Indian Pepper Chicken)
- 1 Large bowl
- 1 large frypan or Instant pot 6-quart Duo
- 1 cup yogurt
- 2 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ lbs chicken bone-in, skinless, cut into 14 pieces
- ¼ cup cooking oil
- 1 red onion medium-sized, cut thickly into 4 or 5 pieces
- 2 green chillies slit lengthwise
- In a bowl, add the yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, black pepper and sea-salt and whisk well. Add the chicken and make sure it is coated on all sides with this marinade. Let it rest for 10 minutes if you have the time.
- Heat the cooking oil in a large pan and add the onions. When they turn pink, add the marinated chicken and cook on high heat for 3 minutes.
- Cover the pan, lower the heat and cook until the gravy reduces and the oil separates (25 minutes). Stir once or twice.
- Add the green chillies, simmer for a minute and turn off the heat. Serve with warm naan bread.
Instant pot instructions
- Follow the prep steps as outlined above.
- Turn on your instant pot to sauté and add the oil in the steel insert. As soon as the oil is hot, add the onions and fry for about a minute on high.
- Add the marinated chicken and cook on high heat for about two minutes.
- Cancel sauté and make sure to give everything a good stir. Deglaze the pot. The yogurt will release a lot of liquid which should be enough to pressure cook the chicken.
- Secure the lid and make sure the steam release vent is set to 'sealing'. Press the pressure cooking button (high) and set the timer to 5 minutes.
- Once the timer beeps, wait for 5 minutes before releasing the steam and opening the pot. Switch back to sauté and add the green chillies. Dry any excess liquid that might be there. As the liquid evaporates, the curry will turn thick and shiny. Serve hot with your favourite bread.
- Ginger-garlic paste is easily available in Indian stores or even big chain supermarkets like Walmart. It is very easy to make at home too. Put equal quantities of peeled ginger and garlic in a blender along with a few tablespoons water and blend to get a smooth puree. Store in a sealed glass bottle in the refrigerator and use as required.
- Use freshly ground, coarse black pepper only.
- Do not use flavoured or Greek yogurt, just regular full fat yogurt.
Jyothi (Jo) says
Pepper chicken looks so yumm. With rotis these would be amazing
aditi bahl says
Pepper chicken with yogurt sounds just so right. Especially in summer, when you want something less rich but flavorful.Well this recipe has it all. Thanks for sharing.
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness says
I agree. Freshly ground pepper is the way to go! I am drooling over this chicken!
Elaine @ Dishes Delish says
I love pepper with anything. Hubby doesn't like it but he doesn't know I sneak it in everything I make. I'm going to have to make this for this weekend's BBQ so everyone can enjoy it without me feeling guilty about sneaking it as it is pretty obvious! 🙂 This looks so delicious!!
Haha! You can't 'sneak' in pepper in pepper chicken, for sure!
Whitney Bond says
I love how easy the prep looks! Can't wait to try, seems like it will be perfectly creamy yet flavorful and light!
Yes, it's a cinch to make this, Whitney. And it's super creamy because of the yoghurt. Do try it.
Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens says
"No muss ... no fuss!" Perfect - that's my kinda recipe for busy nights! And great explanation about using fresh ground pepper instead of those tired, spent little granules from an old spice bottle - seriously makes such a difference! Terrific post - thank you!
You got it! That's THE secret to making a punchy pepper chicken.
Veena Azmanov says
Oh!! You know I haven't made pepper chicken is years! It used to be my absolute favorite dish and looking at this now makes me wanna go make some. Looks so yum.
prasanna hede says
Wow this pepper chicken looks real good.I have been wanting to try pepper chicken for long.
Kim @ Berly's Kitchen says
This sounds fantastic! Green chiles are a great addition to any dish. This is a really easy dish and would make a great dinner option.
Jessica (Swanky Recipes) says
With summer here, I hardly want to set foot in the kitchen and cook a big meal for the family. I'd much rather cook something easy and tasty and this recipe is something that won't take a long time prepare. It's also perfect for meal planning for lunches throughout the week!
I agree wholeheartedly, Jessica! Who wants to spend time in the kitchen cooking elaborate meals in the summer heat?
Veronika's Kitchen says
Oh, this recipes sounds amazing) I make a lot of chicken recipes during the summer and this one will be a hit!)
yum! This sounds so good and easy to make too!