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 check the notes in the recipe card.
Chinese chilli chicken recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- ¼ cup Oil or more for deep frying
for frying chilli chicken
- 250 grams chicken boneless cubes (½ lb)
- 1 ½ teaspoon red chilli sauce (sweet & spicy, less spicy kind)
- 1 ½ teaspoon soya sauce (naturally brewed)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper powder (crushed pepper)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons corn flour or corn starch
- 1½ to 2 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 egg white (use only as needed) or 2 tbsps water (refer notes)
Seasoning for chilli chicken
- 1 tablespoon soya sauce (naturally brewed)
- 2 tablespoons red chilli sauce (adjust to taste) (sweet and spicy)
- 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (optional) or paprika or red chili paste
- ¼ teaspoon pepper powder
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon vinegar (any 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 or 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 for garnish
How to make the recipe
Preparation for chilli chicken
- (Optional) If you prefer to skip the egg in the recipe, it is good to brine the chicken to keep it juicy, succulent and to prevent from drying up. Follow the instruction in recipe notes below.
- Slice chicken to bite sized pieces about half inch cubes. Add chicken to a mixing bowl. Ensure it is drained completely.
- Then add 1½ tsp soya sauce, 1½ tsp chilli sauce, ¼ tsp pepper powder, ¼ tsp red chili powder (optional) and 1 pinch of salt.
- Then sprinkle corn flour & plain flour.
- Add the egg white or water just as needed to bind the flour with the chicken. If the mixture is dry add more egg white or sprinkle some water.
- Set this aside until you prepare the ingredients & the sauce. You can also refrigerate overnight and use.
- Cube the onions & bell pepper. Separate the layers and slit green chilies.
- Prepare the sauce in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp soya sauce, 2 tbsps chili sauce, 2 tbsps tomato ketchup, ½ tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp vinegar and ½ to 1 tsp sugar to a bowl. Pour 2 tbsps of water and mix well. Set this aside.
How to make 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 gently sliding a small quantity of batter to the hot oil. It must rise without browning.
- Now add the chicken cubes one by one without crowding the pan.
- Fry on a medium high heat until crisp, golden and evenly cooked from inside.
- Keep stirring to fry evenly. Do not over fry as the chicken tends to turn hard.
- When the chicken is cooked completely, bubbles in the oil will begin to reduce. Drain on a kitchen tissue or a colander.
- For extra crisp chicken, once done frying the entire chicken refry them in hot oil.
Seasoning chilli chicken
- Heat 1½ tbsp oil in a wok or pan on a high flame.
- Add garlic & fry for about a min.
- Then add onions, capsicum, spring onions 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 & slightly thicken.
- Taste the sauce and add more salt, spice or sauce as needed.
- Also taste the chicken first and add accordingly.
- Then add the fried chicken, Mix well. Saute chilli chicken on a high flame for 1 minute.
- Toss until the chicken is coated well with sauce. Garnish with green parts of the spring onions.
- Serve chilli chicken immediately hot as appetizer or with fried rice or noodles.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
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 tsp soya sauce, 1 ½ tsp chili sauce and ¼ tsp pepper powder.
2. Sprinkle cornflour, 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.
Pour egg white only as needed. You can also use water if you have brined the chicken. Do not use a lot of liquid.
Mix well to coat. If the chicken is too dry, sprinkle little water or more egg white and mix.
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 egg or 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 tbsp soya sauce, ¾ to 1 tsp. vinegar, ½ to 1 tsp. sugar, ½ tsp. red chilli powder or paprika, 2 tbsps red chilli sauce & 2 tbsps ketchup to a bowl.
Mix together all of these with 2 to 3 tbsps water. Sauce must be thick yet of pouring consistency. I am using red chilli powder here again for the color.
How to make chilli chicken recipe
7. Heat 1.5 tbsps oil in the pan on a high flame. Add garlic and fry for a minute. Add onions, green chilies, spring onions 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 toss. Fry on high for 1 minutes till it looks dry.
Serve chilli chicken hot as a appetizer.