Chilli chicken recipe – Learn how to make chilli chicken gravy & dry restaurant style recipe with step by step photos. Chilli chicken is one of the most popular Indo-Chinese style chicken appetizer or starter that is served in Indo-Chinese restaurants. Vegetarian alternates are made with paneer, mushroom, potato and tofu.
If you are new to Indo-chinese foods, then read on to know ..
What is chilli chicken?
Chilli chicken is a sweet, spicy & slightly sour crispy appetizer made with chicken, bell peppers, garlic, chilli sauce & soya sauce.
This crisp fried saucy chilli chicken recipe is hands down the best that you can make at home. There are so many ways this chicken appetizer is made. The recipe shared on this post is my own which has been much loved by my friends & family.
To make the best Chinese chilli chicken, boneless cubes are marinated in soya sauce, chili sauce and pepper. Then deep fried until crisp. Later they are seasoned again in flavorful sauces.
This chilli chicken has a burst of flavors & tastes delicious. These tender bites taste mildly hot, sweet and sour. It is best served hot as an appetizer or with
Veg fried rice
Schezwan fried rice
Is chilli chicken very spicy?
Most people assume it to be too hot & spicy. It is not very spicy. Chilli chicken has a right balance of sweet, spice & sour tastes. My young kids too enjoy this without any problem. You may reduce the spice levels by skipping green chilies.
Tips to make chilli chicken
Usually in the restaurant made chinese chilli chicken, ajjinomotto or monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used to give a unique flavor to it. Trust me! you can still make the best with out it. Avoid it for health reasons, we don’t need it!
Food color is also used to bring the deep red color, avoid that as well and just stick on to the best quality chilli powder or paprika for a vibrant color.
The restaurant served appetizer most often makes us grease sick and tend to dehydrate a lot. For a healthier option you can shallow fry or grill the chicken, details mentioned in the instructions below.
Try this at home! I am sure you will ditch the restaurants & make this best chilli chicken again.
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
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- ¼ cup Oil or more for deep frying
Marination for chilli chicken
- 250 grams chicken boneless cubes
- 1 ½ teaspoon red chilli sauce (less spicy kind)
- 1 ½ teaspoon soya sauce (naturally brewed)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper powder
- 2 to 3 tablespoons corn flour or corn starch
- 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or maida (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder (optional) or paprika or red chilli paste
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt or as needed
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water or egg white (optional)
Seasoning for chilli chicken
- 1 ½ teaspoons soya sauce (naturally brewed)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons red chilli sauce (or ketchup) (use as desired)
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (optional) or paprika or red chili paste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper powder (optional)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon vinegar (apple cider)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar
Other ingredients (veggies)
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced or cubed
- 2 teaspoons garlic chopped
- ¼ to ½ cup bell pepper or capsicum – cubed
- 1 to 2 green chilies slit and deseeded (optional)
- 1 sprig spring onion or scallions chopped (optional)
- 4 to 5 leaves celery chopped finely (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Spring onion green for garnish
How to make the recipe
Preparation for 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 this aside for at least 45 mins but 2 hours is best. Meanwhile cube the onions, bell pepper and keep the sauce ready for seasoning.
- Sprinkle corn flour, plain flour, chilli powder on the chicken along with salt and mix 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 in a bowl. Add soya sauce, chili sauce, red chili powder, vinegar and sugar to a bowl and mix well. Set this aside.
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 one by one. Fry on a medium heat until crisp and evenly cooked from inside.
- Keep stirring to fry evenly. Do not over fry as it tends to turn hard. When the chicken is cooked completely, bubbles in the oil will begin to reduce. Drain on a kitchen tissue.
Seasoning chilli chicken
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or pan on a high flame. Add garlic & fry for about a min. Then add onions, capsicum, spring onions & 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 sauces. 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 dry – If the mixture looks dry, sprinkle little water. Then add the fried chicken, Mix well. Saute on high flame for 1 to 2 minutes.
- 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. Taste the sauce first and then add the chicken.
- Toss until the chicken is coated well with sauce. Serve chilli chicken hot as appetizer or with fried rice or noodles.
Video of crispy chilli chicken recipe
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.
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. If you feel it is dry, sprinkle little water.
9. Add the chicken and toss. Fry on high for 1 to 2 minutes till it looks dry.
Serve chilli chicken hot as a appetizer.