December 17, 2013

Chicken 65 Recipe - How to Make Chicken 65 at Home

I always associate Chicken 65 with Madurai although I have only been to Madurai once and I didn't eat Chicken 65 during that trip. Weird, I know, but not too much because Chicken 65 is a very popular and spicy street food in Madurai. Anyway, I am sure none of you are new to this deliciously spicy fried chicken dish from South India that serves as an appetizer as well as it does a main dish. Now, the Chicken 65 in roadside stalls and restaurants may look a bit different but that's because they add a large pinch of red food colour and I didn't. But I can assure you that these bite-sized pieces of chicken are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and adequately spiced up.

chicken 65 recipe-how to make chicken 65

I once made Chicken 65 with Achi Chicken 65 masala and it turned out really good. I wanted to make it from scratch so once that 50gm packet ran out, I didn't buy it any more in case it tempts me to stick to store-bought masala packets forever! I am a bit neurotic like that I guess, and while I have no issues buying masala powders at the store (I have never made garam masala at home), there's some special joy in making your own food, from scratch.

chicken 65 recipe-how to make chicken 65
A different angle brings out different colours. YUM!

This Chicken 65 will serve as a great starter for a South Indian meal menu but I do love a good dry chilli chicken or chicken majestic too. Check out all Chicken Recipes on Edible here for more Indian chicken recipes.

SOUTH INDIAN CHICKEN 65 RECIPE

Preparation time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
300 gm of chicken breast, cleaned and cut into small cubes (boneless)
1/4 cup of thick plain yogurt (or 1/2 cup buttermilk)
1/2 tsp of Kashmiri chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp of cumin powder
1/4 tsp of black pepper powder
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp of coriander powder
2 tsp of ginger garlic paste
2 tsp of rice flour or corn flour (corn starch)
A fistful of curry leaves
2-3 cups of oil, for frying
1 tsp of vinegar (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Mix the yogurt with all the spices and some salt. Add the vinegar only if your yogurt is not sour. Add the chicken pieces to this and mix well.
chicken 65 recipe-how to make chicken 65

Refrigerate this mixture for about 2 hours to let the marinade work its magic on the chicken pieces. You can even leave it overnight if you want to prep it ahead.

2. When you are ready to fry, heat the oil in a kadai or pan. The amount of oil should be enough to almost cover the pieces so the quantity required will depend on your pan.

Gently add the marinated chicken pieces one by one without overlapping and fry on a low flame until golden brown, turning every once in a while. The outside should turn a dark golden brown otherwise the meat won't be cooked through.
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3. The chicken pieces will shrink a bit on frying as the moisture leaves the meat. The sizzling of the oil will also die down almost completely. Do a quick taste test and remove from the oil. Drain on paper towels as you fry the next batch. Add the curry leaves when you are frying up the last batch and let it turn crisp.
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4. Drain and add to the fried pieces of chicken. Give everything a quick stir and serve hot.
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Hot and spicy Chicken 65 is ready! Serve with lemon wedges an freshly sliced red onions.

Notes:
  1. It's important to fry the chicken in low heat otherwise the outside will start to begin while the inside remains raw.
  2. If you want the colour you see in restaurants, you have to add red food colour
  3. If you don't have cornflour, use rice flour to give the outside a bit of crispness
  4. My version was not very spicy so adjust the heat  level to your preference. Using Kashmiri chilli powder will give your chicken a more brighter colour than regular chilli powder, without the use of food colours
  5. If the marinade is too thick, you can add some water
  6. If your yogurt is not sour and you don't have vinegar or don't want to use it, add a few drops of lemon juice to the marinade

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