Chilli Chicken

This time around I thought I would go for something a bit classic. Something I can guarantee you would find in our house almost every week during my childhood. If you have never tasted Chilli chicken, then you must try it! Lets leave it at that.

A very common dish you will find almost anywhere in Kerala. Although beef olathiyathu and porotta takes the throne, chilli chicken is not far behind. One of my fondest memories are regular family and friends gatherings in our home, by late night dad and uncles drive to couple of our favorite fast food spots. On their arrival, the aroma of fried rice and chilli chicken that swept into the air would make me drop whatever I was doing and get to the table faster than Usain Bolt (I know! Slight exaggeration but you get what I mean).

My introduction to flavours and scents developed in an Indian State that is so passionate about food. They have adapted dishes from across the globe and birthed forth an array of new flavours. This Indochinese combo will be pure treat for your taste buds.

Just a heads up, especially to those who have had this before this recipe is not very spicy. I have set a standard that is suitable for all and the level of spice is dependent on you.

1kg Chicken cut into bite size pieces, I used chicken with bones.

To marinate chicken
3 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 teaspoons of mixed herbs from what I recall from some old recipes this was never in it, but personally I feel it totally works.
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
5 tbsp of corn flour

2 onions diced
½ of each large red, yellow and green pepper (capsicum, bell pepper whatever you call it) or the whole thing if it is small
6 garlics
1 thumb size piece of ginger cut into match sticks
2 green chilies
9 tbsp ketchup
7 tbsp soy sauce
1 teaspoon corn flour in ¼ cup of water
3 spring onions finely chopped
4 tbsp coriander leaves

1. The first thing you need to do is marinate your chicken. To do this put the chicken into a deep dish, simply add all the ingredients listed under to marinate chicken and really massage it into the chicken. Once you have done this keep it aside for at least 30 minutes. Giving it some time to marinate is always a pro, the longer the better as this really marries all the flavours together.

2. Once you have successfully completed step 1, you need to fry the chicken. In a deep pan pour some oil and fry the chicken till cooked, golden and crispy. The reason for it to be completely cooked is because the last few steps is just to put the chicken into the sauce, it is better to avoid cooking it further to retain the crispy bites and also to keep the veggies crunchy as well.

3.  While you are cooking the chicken, you can start the sauce in another pan. Pour 1 tbsp of oil into the pan, once heated up bring the heat down and add the fresh ginger, garlic and chili.  Let this trinity infuse into the oil. Now add the onion, as soon as you do put a little bit of salt to draw out the moisture and cook it faster. The key is to keep the veggies part cooked, so just before the onion is completed translucent add the ketchup and soy sauce. Let this reduce slightly, keep an eye on it as the sugar in the ketchup can easily burn the sauce.  As soon it is heated through, turn the heat off and keep that base aside.

4. After all the chicken is fried, add it to the base you have made. Now switch the heat back on medium and coat all the chicken with the sauce that you have created. Now add the peppers (the reason I said to use 3 different peppers is not just because it makes it colorful, I personally feel each of the peppers have a different taste), half of the coriander leaves and half of the spring onions, give it 3 minutes. Add the corn flour and water mixture, after about a minute take it off the heat. Let this rest for about 10/15 minutes just so the flavours get time to find each and blend.

5. Oh, wait what! Youre done? Yeah thats right you are done! Just for the pretty factor sprinkle the remaining coriander and spring onion on top. You can do this after transferring to a different dish or you can keep it in the same dish you cooked it in.

·   Although you can make the sauce and add just what ever veggies you like, I think a good vegetarian option is to make it with cauliflower.
·   Another option is to try the same with fish, it is advisable to use a firm fish.
Treat the cauliflower/ fish the same way as the chicken and follow the same steps.
When cooking with fish and veggies, add soy sauce and ketchup slowly around 2 tbsp at a time to the point you are happy with the amount of sauce.


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