Chilli chicken recipe – Learn with ease how to make chilli chicken recipe gravy & dry restaurant style recipe with step by step photos. For those who do not know what this is.. chilli chicken is one of the most popular Indo-Chinese style chicken appetizer or starter that is served in Chinese restaurants across the globe. Vegetarian alternates are made with paneer, mushroom, potato and tofu.
Boneless chicken (fillets or cubes) are marinated in soya sauce, chili sauce and pepper. Then deep fried and then seasoned again in sauces to get the best chinese chilli chicken. For a healthier option you can shallow fry or grill the chicken, details mentioned in the instructions below.
You can also check this crispy chili chicken recipe.
Usually in the restaurant made chinese chicken, ajjinomotto or monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used to give a unique flavor to it. Food color is also used to bring the deep red color and are oily and tend to dehydrate a lot. This recipe of chilli chicken dry doesn’t need ajjinomotto or food color, but still can be made the best.
If you wish to brine the chicken first as they do in restaurants to yield tender juicy bites, please scroll down for brining tips.
Chinese chilli chicken recipe
Chilli chicken recipe | How to make chilli chicken dry & gravy
Chilli chicken is a popular chicken starter or appetizer from the Indo-chinese cuisine. Making restaurant kind delicious chilli chicken at home is easy with this recipe. Pair it with hot stir fried noodles or fried rice. Or serve it as a starter in parties. Surely it will be a winner in your menu!
Ingredients (240 ml cup used)
- Oil for deep frying
Marination for chilli chicken
- 250 grams chicken boneless
- 1 ½ tsp chilli sauce
- 1 ½ tsp soya sauce
- ¼ tsp pepper powder
- 2 to 3 tbsps corn flour (1 tbsp more optional)
- 2 to 3 tbsps plain flour or maida (optional use to get restaurant style)
- ¼ tsp red chili powder
- Salt little (about 1/8 tsp)
- 1 ½ tsp soya sauce
- 1 tsp chilli sauce (you can substitute with ketchup)
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp pepper powder (optional)
- ¾ to 1 tsp vinegar
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced or cubed
- 2 tsps garlic chopped
- ¼ to ½ cup bell pepper or capsicum - cubed
- 1 to 2 green chilies slit and deseeded
- 1 sprig spring onion chopped (optional)
- 4 to 5 leaves celery chopped finely (optional)
- 1 tbsp Spring onion green for garnish
How to make the recipe
Preparation of chilli chicken
(Optional) To make the chicken juicy, succulent and to prevent from drying up you can brine the chicken following the instructions in recipe notes below.
Marinate chicken with chilli sauce, soya sauce & pepper powder.
Set aside until you prepare the rest. At least for 45 minutes. 2 hours is best. Meanwhile cube the onions, bell pepper and keep the sauce ready for seasoning.
Sprinkle corn flour, plain flour (optional) on the chicken along with salt and mix well. If you like to have yours coated with crunchy flour like we get in restaurants, then use 1 more tbsp corn flour and 2 tbsp plain flour. Add chili powder as well.
Coat the chicken well. if the mixture is dry you can sprinkle little water or use half of an egg or only egg white. (refer notes) Mix well.
Prepare the sauce. Add soya sauce, chili sauce, red chili powder, vinegar and ½ tsp sugar to a bowl and mix well.
Making chilli chicken
Heat oil in a pan for deep or shallow fry. It can also be grilled at 240 C for 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated oven.
Check if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small quantity of batter to the hot oil. It must rise without browning.
Now add the chicken cubes. Fry on a medium heat until crisp and evenly cooked from inside.
Keep stirring to fry evenly. Do not over fry, it tends to turn hard.
When it is cooked, drain on a kitchen tissue.
Seasoning chilli chicken
Remove off excess oil from the pan, just keep 2 spoons oil in the pan.
Add garlic fry for about a min. Then add onions, capsicum, spring onions, and celery (optional) and green chilies.
Fry till they turn slightly soft for about a minute or so. The veggies must still be crunchy.
Pour the sauce. Let the sauces bubble up well. Taste the sauce and add more salt , spice or sauce as needed. Also taste the chicken and add accordingly.
To make chilli chicken gravy - just stir in 1 tsp corn flour with 1/3 to ½ cup water. Pour it to the pan and allow the sauce to thicken. You will need to add more chilli and soya sauce.
To make chilli chicken dry - Add the fried chicken, Mix well. If it looks dry, sprinkle little water. Saute on high flame for 2 to 3 minutes.
Serve chilli chicken recipe hot as appetizer or with fried rice or noodles.
Mix together 3 tbsp yogurt with 2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp salt. Add the chicken to this and leave it for 45 mins to 1 hour. Brining in the fridge for 4 to 6 hours gives the best results.
To make the best out of the chilli chicken recipe I suggest using kashmiri chili powder or paprika and saute well in the sauces on high flame which also lends a smoky flavor. If you do not use enough chili powder, the final dish may not get a good color. So try adding more or less than mentioned in the recipe.
Preparation for chilli chicken recipe
1. To a bowl, add 250 grams of cubed boneless chicken, 1 ½ to 2 tsp soya sauce, 1 ½ tsp chili sauce and ¼ tsp pepper powder. Marinate and set aside until you prepare the seasoning ingredients. If you have time you can leave it for 45 minutes. This helps the meat to absorb the flavors.
2. Sprinkle 2 tbsp cornflour, 2 tbsp plain flour if using and salt on the chicken. If you like to have a thick crunchy coating of the flour like we get in restaurants, add 1 tbsp more of plain flour and 1 tbsp more of corn flour. Mix well to coat. If the chicken is too dry, sprinkle little water and mix.
Optional: You can also use egg for binding instead of water. One small egg for ½ kg (1 lb) chicken works well. I have not used
3. Add chilli powder or paprika and mix again. This helps to get a good color. This is optional.
4. This is how the chicken looks. If you add too much water or make a batter, it will absorb lot of oil and will not turn crispy.
5. Heat oil until hot enough. Shallow fry or deep fry the pieces until golden. Drain off on the kitchen tissue. It can also be grilled in a preheated oven at 240 C for 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.You can as well put them on a skewer and grill.
6. Prepare the sauce for seasoning in a bowl. This way you will not end up using more sauces. Add 1 ½ tsp. soya sauce, ¾ to 1 tsp. vinegar, ½ tsp. sugar, ½ tsp. red chilli powder or paprika, 1 tsp chilli sauce or ketchup, ¼ tsp pepper powder (optional) to a bowl. I am using red chilli powder here again for the color.
How to make chilli chicken recipe
7. Remove the oil to a bowl and Keep 2 tsps. Oil in the pan. Add garlic and fry for a minute. Add onions, green chilies, spring onions, celery and capsicum. Fry until they turn slightly tender. They must still keep the crunch.
8. Add the sauces and allow to bubble.
9. Add the chicken and Mix. If you feel it is dry, sprinkle little water. Fry on high for 2 to 3 minutes till it looks dry.
Tips to make chilli chicken gravy
Here are the steps to follow
Add 1 tsp corn flour, pinch of salt to half cup water or stock. Stir well to break any lumps. Taste this, it must be slightly salty. You can also add a tsp tomato ketchup if you like it. Pour the mixture towards the end. Stir well. The mixture comes to a boil and thickens, switch off.
Add more sauces if desired. Adjust more or less water, corn flour, salt as needed to make more gravy. It can be served with fried rice. This is a picture of the dish which I made it another time, a bit more saucy.
Tips to make your chilli chicken juicy, tender from inside yet crunchy outside.
Some times after frying the chicken it turns dry and becomes fibrous, tough. Here are the tips to prevent that.
Brining chicken for chilli chicken
why should you brine chicken ?
Brining is a process of soaking meat in salt solution so that it remains tender and juicy when it is deep fried. If you have ever wondered how the chicken served in restaurants is so tender, soft and juicy? It is due to brining. There are so many ways of doing it. One of the most common is to make a solution using vinegar, salt and water.
The other easiest way is to soak it in salted butter milk. Add 2 to 3 tbsps. of yogurt to 2 cups water, add salt and whisk it up. Add chicken to it. Allow it to rest for at least 4 to 6 hours in refrigerator. If you are short of time 45 minutes to 1 hour would be fine. Drain up and use in the recipe as needed.
2. Addition of egg also locks the chicken juices and prevents it from becoming dry and tough:
If you don’t mind using egg you can use only the egg white during marination, it keeps the meat moist and tender . It also helps in binding the flour well and gives a good crust. you can use 1 egg white for 250 grams or full egg for 500 grams of chicken. A alternate to food color is using paprika or good red chili powder like kashmiri or byadgi.