Indian Chilli Chicken

Batter fried chicken coated in a garlic, soy & chilli gravy

Indo-Chinese-Chilli-Chicken If there is one thing I have at the top of my list for every trip to India it’s got be Chilli Chicken. Succulent chicken coated in a thick batter and fried until crisp are added to a garlicky chilli luscious gravy. Served up with some noodles or fried rice; its the sort of food we need in the winters to warm up a cold evening.

Of course Indian Chinese isn’t quite the authentic Chinese food that you would probably be vying for but then what can you expect from gravies, noodles and snacks that are utterly garlickyfied or chillified (I realise I just made up those words!). Then again it’s delicious and for me that’s what matters as does for Indians that are crazy about this cuisine. Most friends I know have a favourite street stall to visit for their Indian Chinese fix. From hakka noodles, fried rice, chicken chow mein and chop suey. And the list goes on. As much as a street food fave, chilli chicken is also served across restaurants in India. You’ll find all of the above that I have mentioned in most places and for a late night snack there could be no better meal.

Flavours in Indian Chinese food are bold and yet have a balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Simmer, stir fried and deep fried it’s all going on. Its the food I grew up eating in India and truth be told I knew nothing else of Chinese cooking. Much to my disappointment I didn’t find anything like it when I moved away from home. Which is probably why I started cooking it and my quest to get the perfect flavour for Chilli Chicken (below) is the one I cook so often now.

You can deep fry the chicken pieces if you prefer, I tend not to as we eat it so often. Also I have used chicken thigh which are a much more succulent cut and despite frying and then simmering in the gravy, doesn’t dry out. I have used Kecap manis which is a thicker and slightly sweeter soy sauce and is ideal to get a dark rich sauce but if you can’t find any just swap it for a dark soy and add a pinch of sugar to balance the flavour. Also a regular shop bought chilli garlic sauce for this recipe is great.



  1. Heat oil in a wide sauce pan or a wok to the level of 1cm. In a mixing bowl add the corn flour, plain flour, chilli powder, black pepper and ginger garlic paste along with the salt. Add the vinegar and water; mix to make a thick batter. Add the chicken pieces to it and mix well coating all the pieces with the batter.

  2. Fry the chicken in the hot oil in batches for 1-2 minutes. They should have a slight colour all over. Drain the chicken on kitchen paper and set aside.

  3. To make the sauce; heat the vegetable oil in a wok or kadhai on a medium heat. Add the white part of the spring onions and fry for a few seconds followed by the green chilli, chopped garlic and chopped ginger. Fry for 10 seconds and add the green peppers along with the red onions. Sauté for 1-2minutes until they begin to soften.

  4. Add the chilli garlic sauce and the dark sticky soy (kecap manis) & stir well. Add the water and bring to a boil and simmer for a 1 minute on a low heat. Add the corn flour water mix, season to taste and simmer for a further 2 minutes as it begins to thicken. Turn the heat off and cool the sauce slightly.

  5. When you’re ready to serve add the fried chicken pieces to the gravy, stirring well making sure to coat all the pieces with the sauce evenly. Simmer the sauce on a low heat for a minute. Serve warm with some noodles or fried rice with a garnish of green chopped spring onions.


  • Meeta

    Oh my! I have some pretty awesome memories of a similar dish we used to love when we vacationed in Delhi. Friends of mine would often celebrate our arrival with a fancy dinner and this would always be on the menu. Good stuff!

  • robert

    perhaps the chicken needs more than 2 minutes?

    • maunika

      Thank you for your comments. As mentioned the chicken pieces are quite small and bite size so when frying them in hot oil anymore than 2 minutes and they will over cook. Also they are simmered in the gravy towards the end which means you still want them to be succulent & moist.

  • Ping

    I’m so making this next week! This was one of my favorite Indian Chinese dishes while living in West Bengal. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lee

    I made this last night and it was pretty good, although the batter wasn’t very thick and didn’t stick too well to the chicken. I’m guessing that the batter should be quite gloopy?

    any tips on what I done wrong?



    • maunika

      Hi Lee, The batter needn’t be thick. The sauce is quite thick anyways. The batter helps the sauce cling to the chicken pieces. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Liji

    Made chilly chicken yesterday as per the recipe , it was absolutely delicious. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe.

  • Divya rai

    Hi maunika just a quick question. What is kecap manis?

    • maunika

      Its a Sweet soy although if you cant get hold of any you can use regular soy and ad a pinch of sugar.

  • Kaur

    Hi, can the chicken be cooked an other way rather than fried?

  • Herb

    Great taste!! However, the batter didn’t stick very well. Where you indicate corn flour should that be corn starch instead?

    • maunika

      Thanks for your comments! The coating doesn’t need to be thick and stodgy so a light batter is great. Yes another name for corn flour is corn starch.

      • Sadia Seyal

        Hi Maunika, I googled corn flour and it looks like corn flour is different from corn starch. I just want to make sure I use the right ingredient before I make this. Can you please confirm whether I should use corn flour or corn starch for this recipe? Thanks.

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Either although just adjust quantities.

  • Sujoy Roy

    Looks so good and you made it so easy. Will definitely try it this way and let you know how it went.

  • John Bull

    My fav is a sichuan dish adapted from Charmain Solamon great cook book. I use 30 deseeded dry chillies, fried untill black. Open windows and doors, give guests paper towels to help with runny noses., all my children, grandchildren and. Friends love it, I will try your recipe and feedback

    • maunika

      Thank you! That sounds fantastic and I am a huge fan of Charmain Solomon. Enjoy the recipe!

  • Terence

    Hi Maunika,
    is it ok to use some egg white to the it seems to stick better to the chicken…great recipe thanks

    • maunika

      Yes that is great. The batter should be quite dry and with the use of corn flour it will stick to the chicken well. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Diana Tri Wulandari

    Hi Maunika,
    I would really like to try this, but I am not sure if I can find chili garlic sauce. What’s the possible substitute? (Possibly something from scratch?) Thanks a lot!

  • Mayanka

    Hey! Great recipes! Can you share some coconut crab red curry recipes and prawn curry recipes as well?

  • Adéla Jelínková

    Hello Maunika, thank you for the recipe. I have celiac disease and cannot use plain flour. Does it have any impact if I use more corn flour instead of wheat flour? Thanks.

    • Arpitha Jayaram

      Hi…. i think u can use corn flour and a spoon of rice flour or GF bread crumps to make it crispy . And it still tastes great.

      • Maunika Gowardhan

        Good tip!:)

    • Dan

      I’m going to try chickpea flour for this recipe because of some celiac dinner guests. I hope it works!

  • Mansi Desai

    Hi Maunika. You mentioned that you do not deep fry the chicken pcs as you make this dish often. Please can you tell us how do you cook the chicken then?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      As mentioned you can deep fry or as I have shallow fried it.

  • John Haines

    Hi Maunika what type of vinegar do you use in this recipe? Thanks

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      White wine vinegar or malt vinegar would be good! Hope you like it:)

  • Arva Hussain

    Hi Maunika

    Is it possible to make a video of this receipe when you prepare it the next time…

  • nabila

    Hi, You have mentoned chilli garlic sauce and the dark sticky soy (kecap manis) . What exactly does kecap manis mean? and can I use green chilli sauce, tomato ketchuo with dark soy sauce. will that b good?

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Kecap manis is sweet soy sauce if you cant get hold of it just mix regular soy with desired amount of honey! Enjoy:)

      • Monali Priyadarshini

        How much soy sauce and how much honey to be added to get the perfect proportion???? And what’s the substitute for chilli garlic sauce???

        • Maunika Gowardhan

          Add soy and honey to your taste as Kecap Manis is sticky sweet so feel free to make it less sweet.

  • Saleem

    This is delicious. I am not sure why I have never made this at home. It tastes better than 99% of the Hakka restaurants I have been to. Your recipe was simple and straightforward. My family loved it.

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you!:)

  • Rob Maddison

    Tried this one and yet again a real winner. I’ve a bookcase full of Indian recipe books but when I need something a bit special this website is my 1st port of call every time. Brilliant!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Thank you so wonderful to hear this! One of the many reasons I enjoy what I do is so I can share the recipes with my readers:)

  • Zakariya Kasu

    Hi Maunika, I am planning to try this recipe tonight so wish me good luck haha. Would using chicken breast make a massive difference taste wise for this? I prefer chicken thighs to breasts but Ill be unable to get ahold of boneless chicken thighs

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Chicken thighs are great as they have enough fat to keep it moist while cooking. Just adjust cooking times slightly to make sure it doesnt dry out.

  • Nashir Miah

    Hi, can you tell me how much ingredients is required if I’m using 5kg of boneless breast chicken? Great recipe and method by the way!

  • Lyana

    Try the original kolkata chilli chicken 🙂 this looks tasty

  • Lyana

    Try the original kolkata chilli chicken recipe 🙂 this looks tasty nonetheless!!

  • Martin Kirwan

    Hi Maunika,
    I made this yesterday and while the sauce tasted great, the chicken was not crispy at all – the batter did not really stick to the chicken. Could this be due to the batter being to thin (although I did use measuring spoons for the quantities)? or is it an idea to coat the chicken in flour/cornflour before adding to the batter? noting that I did use breast rather than thigh. Also, any recommendations for a homemade garlic chill sauce? Thanks!

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Chicken thigh works better in a dish like this. Your not looking for it to be a batter but a rough coarse mix and coat the chicken pieces. If you feel if you want more of a coating do it twice over and then fry. Also the temperature of the oil is key when frying. You want the chicken to crisp up rather than stew in the oil.

    • Jeff Sa

      This recipe was fir chiken chilli not for chiken crispy

    • Sandrin Fernando

      Make sure your oil is up to 375°F; anything more or less can mess the batter up or ruin the anti foaming agent in the oil. If you still find trouble use a mix of batter mix or all purpose flour with your corn flour. I find corn flour needs higher temps to set it.

  • Satya Ranjan Patra
  • V TV
  • Koshy Vaidyan

    Tried your recipe this afternoon and it came it good. Thanks for the recipe

  • shik

    Hi looking forward to try this recipe – can I please confirm that the chicken only needs to be cooked for just 1-2 minutes as per the recipe above? Will it be sufficiently cooked in this time? Many thanks

    • Maunika Gowardhan

      Hi as the recipe mentions you need to dice the chicken in small chunks. They cook quicker that way also the heat is on medium so it is sufficient. If the chicken pieces are bigger then ofcourse cook them until their done.

      • shik

        That’s great, many thanks for your help!

  • District 30

    This is my favorite dish at a Indochinese restaurant in NYC called “Spice Symphony.” I can’t wait to make this

  • Krishnendu Shil

    Great article, I’ll love it, Read the Delicious and
    White chili chicken recipe


Maunika's Indian Recipes App

Maunika’s Indian Recipe’s App is a guide to cooking delicious Indian curries, filled with over 400 recipes. From quick mid week meals, weekend brunch ideas, curries for family & friends. Get access to lots of recipes that have been developed exclusively for the App, along with top restaurants, places to visit including my favourite markets, resorts and street food stalls, and upcoming cookery events.