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The BEST Chilli Chicken

Chilli Chicken is a popular Indo-Chinese dish that has gained immense popularity not just in India but also around the world. It is a tantalizing combination of crispy and tender pieces of chicken, coated in a flavorful sauce that is both spicy and tangy. This recipe is a must-try for those who enjoy the bold flavors of Asian cuisine.

Chilli Chicken can be enjoyed as an appetizer or as a main course alongside steamed rice or noodles. It is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit different taste preferences. Whether you like it mild or extra spicy, you can adjust the heat level according to your liking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make chilli chicken without frying?

Yes, for a healthier version, you can bake or air fry the chicken. The texture will be slightly different but still delicious. Adjust cooking times based on the method chosen.

Is it possible to make this dish vegetarian?

Absolutely! Substitute chicken with paneer (Indian cottage cheese), tofu, or a mix of vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and mushrooms for a vegetarian version.

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How can I make this dish gluten-free?

Use tamari or a gluten-free soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce, and ensure your chili sauce is gluten-free. Use a gluten-free flour blend or cornstarch instead of all-purpose flour for coating the chicken.

Can I use chicken with bones for this recipe?

While boneless chicken is preferred for its ease of eating, especially in an appetizer format, you can use bone-in chicken. Just be mindful of adjusting the cooking times accordingly.

Why is my chilli chicken not crispy?

This could be due to the oil not being hot enough when frying, overcrowding the pan, or the batter being too wet. Ensure the oil is at the correct temperature and fry in batches without overcrowding for the crispiest results.

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

250 grams (½ lb.) boneless chicken (preferably breast)
1½ teaspoon red chilli sauce (sweet & spicy, less spicy kind)
1½ teaspoon soya sauce (naturally brewed)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (optional) or paprika or red chilli paste
⅛ teaspoon Salt or as needed
2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch (organic white corn flour)
1½ to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (optional)
1 egg white (use only as needed) or 2 tbsps water
¼ cup Oil for deep frying

For the Chilli Sauce:

1 tablespoon soya sauce (naturally brewed)
2 tablespoons red chilli sauce (adjust to taste) (sweet & spicy)
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup (adjust to taste, can vary depending on brand)
½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder (optional) or paprika or red chili paste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ to 1 teaspoon vinegar (rice or apple cider)
½ to 1 teaspoon sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons water

Other Ingredients (Veggies):

1½ tbsp oil
1 medium onion thinly sliced or cubed
1 tablespoon garlic fine chopped
¼ to ½ cup bell pepper (capsicum) – cubed
1 to 2 green chilies slit and deseeded (optional)
1 sprig spring onion or scallions chopped (optional)
1 to 3 tablespoon Spring onion greens to garnish

Instructions for Making Chilli Chicken

Slice chicken to bite-sized pieces and add to a mixing bowl. Add soya sauce, red chilli sauce, black pepper, red chili powder (optional), salt, corn starch, and all-purpose flour. Add the egg white or water only as needed to bind the flour with the chicken. If the mixture is dry, add more egg white or sprinkle some water. Keep this aside until you prepare the ingredients & the sauce. You can also refrigerate overnight.
Cube the onions & bell pepper. Separate the layers and slit green chilies.
Prepare the sauce in a bowl. Add soya sauce, chili sauce, tomato ketchup, red chili powder, vinegar, sugar, and water to a bowl. Mix well. Keep this aside.

To Fry Chicken:

On a medium flame, heat oil (about 1 inch) in a pan to deep or shallow fry. The oil is hot enough to fry when a small portion of batter dropped sizzles and rises to the surface steadily without browning.
Add the chicken pieces one by one without crowding the pan.
Fry on medium-high heat stirring often until crisp, golden, and evenly cooked from inside. Do not overcook as it can dry out the chicken.
When the chicken is cooked completely, bubbles in the oil will begin to reduce. Remove to a kitchen tissue or a wired rack.
For extra crisp chicken, refry them in hot oil again on medium heat.

To Make Chilli Chicken Sauce:

Heat oil in a wok or pan on a high flame. Add garlic and fry for about a minute.
Add onions, bell peppers, spring onion whites, and green chilies.
Fry till they turn slightly soft for about a minute or so. The veggies must still be crunchy.
Pour the sauces. Let the sauces bubble up well and slightly thicken. Taste the sauce and chicken as well. Add more salt, spice, or sauce as needed.
Add the fried chicken and toss well until it is coated with the sauce. Sauté chili chicken on a high flame for 1 minute and sprinkle black pepper.
Garnish with spring onion greens. Serve chilli chicken immediately hot as an appetizer or with fried rice or noodles.

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