Indo-Chinese Cuisine is my weakness; probably the same is true for most of the non-vegetarian Indians. When we grew up in nineties, India was yet to be globalized and the American or Italian cuisines like Burger, Fries, Pizza or Pasta didn’t make their entry to my home country. At that time, Chinese cuisine was the only option for dinning out. Calcutta has a long history of pioneering Indian style of Chinese food, mainly because of its reasonable Chinese population from pre-independence era. India’s only Chinatown is located in Calcutta and it’s the place that started the Calcutta’s famous roadside stalls of Chinese food. These food stalls adopted Chinese cuisine with mixing Indian taste into it. Today the Chinese food has become an integral part of the Indian culinary.
Chilli Chicken is one of the popular dishes in this cuisine and I am going to share its recipe today. In abroad, we miss those road side stalls, the big wok, the smell of burnt garlic, soy sauce, the sound of stir-frying. So once in a while I try to make this dish at home because it’s both my son and husband’s favorite one.
In general, Chilli Chicken refers to a type of dry chicken preparations that is made with fresh chili peppers. There is no standard recipe for it and everyone makes their own version of this popular dish. There are multiple variations of chilli chicken recipes. More commonly boneless chickens are used in Chilli Chicken and batter-fried chicken cubes are stir-fried with onions and green bell-peppers. They are coated with hot and spicy sauce. Sometimes it comes up with little gravy, but generally people prefer to cook it dry or without gravy. It goes well with fried rice or chowmein. If you don’t like chicken, the same recipe can be tried with fish / vegetables / Paneer.
I have learnt this dish couple of years ago and always make the healthier version which means that there is no MSG and with less sodium soy sauce and no food color. You should find the recipe is easy and quick to prepare.
Recipe of Chilli Chicken : Serves 4
Chicken : 1 lb/ 500 g ( around ), skinless, boneless, chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-sized pieces
For Marination and first part
Vinegar : 1 tablespoon
Ginger paste : 1/2 tablespoon
Garlic paste : 1 tablespoon
Soy Sauce : 1 tablespoon
Green Chili paste : 1/2 tablespoon
Pepper Powder : 1/2 teaspoon ( freshly ground )
Cornstarch / cornflour : 2 tablespoons
Egg : 1
Oil : for deep frying
For the final cooking :
Oil : 2-3 tablespoons
Onion : 1 big one, or 2 medium, cut into 1 inch chunk.
Green Bell peppers / capsicum : 2 small, or 1 big, chop into 1 inch sized square pieces.
Green chillies / green hot peppers : 3-4 (as per your tolerance ), chopped
Ginger + Garlic paste : 1 tablespoon
Soy sauce : 2 tablespoons
Tomato sauce : 2 tablespoons
Chili sauce : 2 tablespoons or as you need ( I used here Sriracha sauce )
Cornstarch / cornflour : 1 teaspoon
Water : 1/2 cup
Spring onion / green onion / scallion : 1 stalk, finely chopped
Salt : ( if needed ) ( all sauces have a lot of sodium. )
1. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Take a big bowl and place the chicken pieces into it. Add vinegar, ginger paste, garlic paste, soy sauce, chili sauce, pepper powder to it. Mix it well and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Remove the excess water from the chicken. ( if required ) Now add the beaten egg and cornstarch to the marinated chicken pieces. Mix it well again until the chicken pieces get a coat of cornstarch.
3. Take a deep frying pan, add oil and heat it up. Deep fry the chicken pieces over medium high heat in small batches. Fry them till they get nice brown color on the both sides. Take them out from oil and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. ( If you want to avoid deep frying, just add 2-3 tablespoons of oil and follow the rest of the process.)
4. Take a wok or a big pan, add 2-3 tablespoons oil. Once oil is hot, add the ginger garlic paste. Give some stirs and add chopped onions, green bell peppers and green chillies. Saute them for few minutes over high flame. Do not overcook, the onions and bell peppers should remain crunchy.
5. Add soy sauce, chili sauce and tomato ketchup. Stir to mix it nicely. Add chicken pieces, stir and mix until chicken pieces are well coated with sauce. Check the seasoning and add salt or sauces if needed. Add the chopped spring onions and stir. If you want the dry version of Chilli Chicken. Switch off the gas and serve it with Fried Rice or Chowmein or can serve it as an appetizer.
6. If you like to have your Chilli Chicken with thick gravy, then mix the cornstarch with water and add the mixture to the prepared chilli chicken. Stir and mix it for couple of minutes over medium high heat. Serve hot.