Stir-fried pepper chicken, pickled vegetables

by Roopa Gulati

A south Indian-spiced stir fry from regular demo chef Roopa Gulati

Whole red chillies and cracked black peppercorns bring heat to this dish, while sweet cinnamon and fennel seeds soften the pungency.


For the pickled vegetables:
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small raw beetroot, coarsely grated
2 tbsp chopped dill

For the pickling liquor:
90ml white wine vinegar
30g caster sugar
Juice of ½ lime
1 tsp fennel seeds
¼ tsp nigella seeds

600g skinned and boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder or 1 tsp hot paprika
4-6 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
4 Kashmiri dried red chillies
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 onion, diced
6 medium tortilla wraps
2 large handfuls of rocket
50g ginger, grated
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tomatoes, diced


First, make the pickle. Mix the grated carrot with the sliced onion and set aside. Wash the beetroot under running water until the colour stops bleeding, then transfer to a bowl. Keep it separate from the carrot and onions.

Pour 150ml water into a small saucepan and add the pickling liquor ingredients, plus 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 mins. Pour the hot liquor over the carrots and onions and also the beetroot. Leave to cool, then cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Drain the vegetables from the liquor and mix them together just before serving. Stir in the chopped dill.

Now make the chicken. Mix the chicken with the pepper, cinnamon, ground coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Cover and leave to marinate for 30 mins.

Heat the oil in a wok over a medium heat and add the mustard seeds, dried chillies and fennel seeds. Stir in the diced onion and fry until golden before adding the chopped ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Cook for a further 5 mins. Add the marinated chicken and fry over a high heat, stirring all the time, for about 5 mins—until tender.

Heat the oven to 180C. Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven for about 10 mins. Unwrap the packet and generously cover each tortilla with rocket leaves followed by a row of chicken in the centre. Top with pickled vegetables and roll the wraps up tightly. Slice in half before serving.

Recipe: Roopa Gulati