Today’s recipe comes from a request from one of my followers – it’s a popular starter or a snack from central and South India – it’s great as a way to warm you up on a cold day like we had today. It’s surprisingly simple and can be as spicy as you want. The dish is broken into two parts – first, deep frying the marinaded chicken and then secondly, tossing the cooked chicken in a spicy seasoning. So, let’s get going!
Marinaded Chicken Ingredients:
500 grams of chicken, cubed into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
2 cms ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lemon or lime (limes were cheaper today, so I grabbed that)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon of chilli powder (or smoked paprika if you want a milder flavour)
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons of corn flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable or Canola Oil for deep frying
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Curry leaves (fresh, if possible, but dried is ok – note, this is not the same as bay leaves)
Fresh green chillies (to taste)
Marinaded Chicken Method:
Mix your chicken with the garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli powder and salt.
Mix in your youghurt…
Squeeze the juice of half of your lemon/lime over the chicken
And cover. Leave for at least an hour, but overnight is always best… if you’re leaving your chicken to marinade for more than an hour then definitely put it in the fridge. Bring the chicken out of the fridge so it can come up to room temperature before frying.
Just before you get ready to deep fry your chicken add in your corn flour…
And thoroughly combine – the mixture will become drier and stickier – this is a good sign! I’ve seen a couple of recipes say you can also crack in an egg at this stage – this would give the chicken different flavour and texture, so experiment and see what you like – I preferred the drier mix, so I’ve left it out.
Time to get deep frying. Ok, serious note here – deep frying isn’t something you mess around with. Keep your eye on your pot at all times and practice safe frying at all times – some key things, don’t let your oil get too hot so it smokes; don’t do anything else whilst deep frying – make sure you’re concentrating on the fryer; keep the handle well away from the edge of your stove to prevent it from accidentally spilling; and, for all that is holy, if a fire does start, don’t put it out with water. I went to a demonstration by the fire department that shows what happens when you pour a single cup of water into a deep fryer – here’s the result. Basically, don’t do it!!
Ok, your oil should be hot, but not smoking hot. I’ve tested my oil by dropping a little bit of bread dough in – if it bubbles and fries instantly but doesn’t burn, you’re ready to go.
Cook your marinaded chicken pieces in small batches – too many at a time and your pan could, at best, cool down the oil and slow down the cooking and, at worst, overflow and cover you with oil. Use a long handled spoon to separate the pieces of chicken – they like to stick together.
Cook until the chicken is nice and golden (this took about 2-3 minutes per batch of about 6 pieces). Place the cooked chicken on a plate with some paper towels on it to drain the excess oil. Keep doing this until all your chicken is cooked. This, on its own, is a fantastic snack for those that don’t like too much chilli, like my kids – I had to fight them off so there was a little left for the final seasoning.
Start by taking a little oil and, over a medium heat, add in the curry leaves, garlic and sliced green chillies. Cook slowly until the curry leaves crackle.
When the curry leaves are crackling, add in your cumin powder and chilli powder (optional).
Mix all the seasoning ingredients together in the oil, but don’t cook for too long – the ground spices will go bitter.
Add in your fried chicken and toss in the seasoning. The chicken should be already cooked through, so we’re just trying to warm it up at this point. 30 seconds of tossing the chicken is plenty.
Serve with the remaining lemon/lime, some more fresh chillies and some sliced onion….Consume with loved ones and a cold lager (loved ones optional).
We wanted it to be more of a meal, rather than a snack, so I added the chicken as a protein to a freshly cooked naan bread with some salad and raita. Wrap it all up and you’ve got a fantastic dinner option. Enjoy!