Indian

How to Make Indian Fried Chicken

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Michelle Peters-Jones of The Tiffin Box shows us why it's time for Indian spicy fried chicken to take the spotlight. 

Chicken 65 might have an unusual name, but it’s actually the name of one of the most popular bar snacks in Southern India. Unlike other well-known Indian chicken dishes—like tandoori style and chicken lollipops—this crunchy, fiery, and completely addictive chicken is traditionally made from spicy, marinated chicken pieces that are deep fried, then quickly sautéed again in a spicy yogurt and curry leaf sauce. Since I find that sautéing the fried chicken in yogurt sauce can be more effort than it's worth, I've made an easier version: I serve a yogurt sauce seasoned with chili, cumin, and garlic on the side—all the flavor with none of the struggle. If you feel up for the challenge (and learning more about my theory on this bizarre name), you can always try making a traditional version of Chicken 65.

I feel like I have to issue this recipe with a warning: No matter which way you make it, you will almost always end up eating more than you bargained for. Once you've had a few (or a dozen), there will be no doubt in your mind as to why they are one of Indian's most popular bar foods. So what are you waiting for? Get frying:

Chicken 65 (Indian Fried Chicken)

Serves 4

For the chicken and the marinade:

tablespoon Kashmiri red chili powder or Hungarian hot paprika*
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
tablespoon lemon juice, plus more as desired
cloves garlic, crushed
One 1-inch piece ginger, grated
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the seasoned coating and yogurt sauce:

tablespoons cornstarch
tablespoons rice flour
tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder or Hungarian hot paprika, divided*
1/4 teaspoon salt and fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
egg, beaten
Neutral oil, for deep-frying
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

*To make the marinade, you will need Kashmiri chili powder, which is the milder version of the chili powder regularly available in Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find Kashmiri chili powder, substitute Hungarian hot paprika, which will allow you to achieve the bright red hue.

  

In a small bowl (choose one that won't stain), mix together the chili powder, ground coriander, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon juice as desired.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and it to the bowl of marinade, then rub the marinade into the chicken.

Let the chicken marinate for at least an hour in the refrigerator or, if you planned ahead, overnight.

  

While the chicken is marinating, make a seasoned coating by stirring together the cornstarch, flours, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place the beaten egg in a separate shallow bowl.

When you are ready to start frying, pull the chicken from the refrigerator. Line your bowls up and get out a pair of tongs to make coating your chicken a little less messy (fingers will also do the trick, however).

Before breading your chicken, heat your frying oil to 375° F in a deep pot. (If you don't have a frying thermometer, I highly recommend getting one.) Then dip each chicken piece first in the beaten egg and next in the seasoned flour coating. Carefully lower the pieces into the hot oil. Depending on the size of your pot, you should be able to fry about 4 to 5 pieces of chicken at a time. 

Deep-fry the chicken pieces for about 3 to 5 minutes each, or until golden brown and cooked through. Carefully remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon and set them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Keep frying until all your chicken pieces are all golden brown and crispy. 

While the chicken drains and cools, quickly whip together the yogurt sauce. All you need to do is whisk together the yogurt, cumin, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, garlic, and salt and pepper until smooth and creamy. Give the sauce a taste and adjust seasoning if needed (if you're a diehard cumin fan, go ahead and add some more). 

Serve the chicken pieces warm, with the yogurt sauce on the side for dipping. This recipe is usually served as an appetizer, but it also makes for a great entrée.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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17 Comments

easychord April 10, 2016
"Move over Korean fried chicken"? - because there's only room for one "ethnic" fried chicken for y'all?
 
Stu F. December 25, 2015
made this for my family the other night and they *loved* it! i used spicy parpika and it had just the right balance and kick such that, when combined with the yogurt sauce, it tasted divine
 
rdb April 27, 2015
I will have to try this one...
 
Mike V. April 23, 2015
This is now my favorite Fried Chicken recipe! Its definitely in my "to make again' category. The four mixture makes a very crispy and delicious coating. I am super in love with this and can not wait to impress my guests. Thank you for this gift from the recipe gods!
 
Tara M. April 22, 2015
YES!++I+can't+wait+to+make+this!!+
 
JK April 22, 2015
Been working on my own version(s) during days off...because. fried chicken.<br />This isn't too far off from a few of the spicier ones I have worked on. I do like your batter flour ingredient ratios as well. <br />But please..for the love of Krom...<br />DO NOT PLACE ALL YOUR HARD WORK ON A PAPER TOWEL OUT OF THE FRYER. Your hard work to get it crispy..keep it so. Laying it on something such as an absorbent surface only encourages steaming and sogginess.<br />Place on a wire cooling rack over a sheet pan with paper towels (for easier cleanup) in a 240-250 degree oven while finishing up batches.
 
Author Comment
Michelle P. April 22, 2015
Thanks for that tip, JK. The paper towel is a leftover from my mom using newspaper to absorb any residual oils. I'll have to try out your version now :)
 
Lesley J. April 22, 2015
Is is possible to cut back on the spiciness? We love fried chicken, but my partner can't handle the heat as well as I can :3
 
JK April 22, 2015
it won't be as spicy as you might think..especially if you go with the paprika over chili paste..but of course, you can. Omit altogether or use sweet paprika. the flour and other ingredients temper the heat quite a bit actually.
 
Author Comment
Michelle P. April 22, 2015
Lesley, yes, absolutely. Reduce the amount of chili powder in the marinade and flour coating (1 teaspoon, and 1/2 teaspoon), decrease the ginger to 1/2 inch. Make up the rest using sweet (Hungarian) paprika for colour. Same with the yogurt dip, just leave out the chili powder. Hope this helps.
 
Neela April 21, 2015
Can+this+chicken+pieces+be+baked+instead+of+dip+fry?+
 
Author Comment
Michelle P. April 21, 2015
Hi Neela, unfortunately not. Once deep fried, you can always reheat it in the oven to regain crispness. But this is a traditionally deep fried dish, and it's not the easiest to adapt to the oven.
 
LE B. April 21, 2015
michelle, Great job on this! A question too:<br />plse tell us the whys behind the coating of cornstarch, rice flour and AP flour. (Rice flour for crispiness? Why the other 2 ?) Is besan ever used to coat chicken for frying?<br />Thx much.
 
Author Comment
Michelle P. April 21, 2015
Hiya, I use a combination of flours, as I like the way they work together. The rice flour = extra crispiness, the cornstarch is the traditional flour used to fry the chicken, but I find that without the plain flour the chicken pieces can go a little soggy. You can substitute potato starch (aka, from kaaraage chicken) for the plain flour.
 
makebistro April 22, 2015
I haven't tested out this recipe (and it sounds delicious), but I would say the function of the cornstarch helps adhere a coating to the chicken.
 
Author Comment
Michelle P. April 22, 2015
Derek, yep. That's why we traditionally use cornstarch in India.
 
Coraline March 19, 2018
What size pot are you using to fry the chicken?