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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.