Courtallam / Kutralam Border Kadai Pepper Chicken Varuval

Border Kadai Pepper Chicken

How many of you would enjoy visiting water falls? For those born in Tamil Nadu/Kerala, the most sought after spot for waterfalls is Courtrallam/ Kutralam. It is a small town located in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. It is engulfed by huge mountains of Western Ghats and beautiful landscape of villages around Tirunelveli. Since it lies on the border between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the perfect season to visit the place will be few weeks after the onset of South West Monsoon.

The weather will be perfect then – gentle cold breeze with tolerable mild temperature. I have visited close to 5-8 falls during each trip. They are Main Falls, Shenbagadevi Falls, Old Falls, Five Falls,Tiger Falls and Palaruvi Falls or Milk Falls (in Kerala). I have visited Courtrallam a lot of times in the month of June-August. It’s more a family celebration than anything else. During day time, you have to stand in que to enjoy the water. Imagine standing in a long que just to wet ourselves for 5-10 minutes. We don’t want to enjoy the place during day time. It is so very crowded in all the falls.

If you ask me, I would call that so uncool. So what we do is? We visit the falls after 7.00PM. It’s damn cold but that’s thrill right. Extremely cold water falling right over you and when we are around your fun loving cousins or friends, all you want to do is scream till the sky falls apart. The bath makes us feel so relaxed. The water gushes down with so much intensity that the body gets relieved of any back aches. It’s gives a SPA effect for sure.

We asked the local for a decent place to eat. Locals suggested to try the BORDER KADAI. Does the name sound funny to you? Yes, the name sounded interesting to me. I am sure everyone will remember it for lifelong. Next time, you are visiting Tirunelveli or Kutralam, make sure to visit this place.Border Kadai is located right before the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and hence gets the name. During the time they got started, it was the place for truck drivers to dine. It’s a simple takeout joint with rickety benches and chair and servers are casual and no big etiquette followed by the diners. The place will take you by surprise as there will be more men than women. Sometimes our car driver would say its better to order take out than sitting there as few men might be drunk and super excited after their gala time at the water falls. Anyways for the first time we dined inside.

Today I have created my version of Border Kadai Pepper Chicken Varuval.All I did was I made a tasty base with loads of curry leaves, pepper corns and onions. Little bit of ginger-garlic paste and freshly made garam masala went inside the sauce. I let the chicken cook for 20-30 minutes and removed them to broil in the oven for another 15 minutes to get that black colour.

As the chicken was getting mildy charred, I simmered the sauce for further 15 minutes on high to thicken. I re-added the broiled chicken and mixed them all together to get a sloppy varuval that oozes spicyness from just peppercorns. Purely black and dark with speckles of green curry leaves popping in every corner like jade perched on the neck of a dark women. Beauty personified.

Border Kadai Pepper Chicken

Border Kadai Pepper Chicken Varuval

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Course: lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: South Indian
Keyword: Pepper Chicken Varuval
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Advika Menon


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 25 curry leaves
  • 2 red oniones chopped (can use vegetable chopper to easily chopped the vegetables)
  • 2 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ cup black pepper corn freshly crushed
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 8 chicken dumstick Or 1.5 lbs chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp garam masala


  • Heat oil in a large kadai. Once hot enough, add the curry leaves and let it crisp up, about 2 minutes.
  • Throw in the onions and little salt and let it brown a bit about 15 minutes on low flame. Add the ginger and garlic paste and saute till the raw smell disppears, about 2 minutes.
  • Add turmeric, pepper corns and coriander powder. Saute for couple of minutes. Add the chicken and cook covered for 20 minutes.
  • Set the oven to broil (550F).
  • Gently remove the chicken pieces to a baking sheet. Broil it for 10- 15 minutes. Keep an eye to avoid getting too burnt. We are just trying to get a crisp outer covering.
  • In the meanwhile, add garam masala to the sauce and let it cook at high flame for 15 minutes. Keep an eye again to avoid burning. We just want the sauce to thicken so keep stitting to avoid burning the base.
  • Add the broiled chicken and mix it with the sauce. Let it cook for another 2 minutes. Switch off the flame and let it rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot with parattos or rice.


1. Spicy pepper chicken can be eaten during phase 1 of SBD. You can replace drumsticks with boneless chicken breast.
2. They taste absolutely delicious with sandwich thins

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