Chicken 65 is one of the most popular appetizers, originating in South India. It is very spicy, tangy, has a distinctive red colour and is full of flavours. It can be eaten as it is or with plain rice and flatbreads like naan or parathas. The origin of the name of Chicken 65 has some interesting versions. The most popular story is that this dish was at number 65 of a menu in a military canteen in Chennai. Since soldiers from North India could not read the menu, which was written in Tamil, they just ordered the dish by mentioning the number 65. Soon this chicken dish came to be popularly known as Chicken 65!
I have eaten Chicken 65 in many places in India and in Austin and I find they all have slightly different flavours. I have added the ingredients and the amount based on what I prefer, but you can adjust some of them, especially the chillies or chilli powder depending on how spicy you want it to be. (The spicier, the better!)
Prep Time: 2 ½ hours Cooking time: 20 min Serves: 4
Boneless, skinless chicken cut into small cubes: 1 kg
Red Chilli powder: 1 tbsp
Kashmiri Mirch Powder: 1 tbsp
Garam Masala: 1 tsp
Garlic paste: 1 tsp
Ginger paste: 1 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice: 4 tbsp
Corn starch/cornflour: 1 tbsp
Plain flour: 1 tbsp
Large egg: 1 (or 2 small eggs)
Salt to taste
Curd: 1 1/2 cups
Red chilli powder: 2 tsp
Pepper powder: 1 tsp
Plain flour: ½ tsp
Salt: 1 pinch
Red food colour: 2 or 3 drops (optional)
Oil: 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Whole red chillies: 2
A few curry leaves
Slit green chillies: 2
Chopped garlic: 2 cloves
Chopped ginger: 1 inch piece
Chopped onions: 1 small
Grated coconut: 1 tsp (optional)
Chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
1) Mix all the marinade ingredients well with the chicken pieces and keep it in the fridge for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
2) Deep fry the chicken pieces on medium to medium high heat till they are crispy. Keep aside on paper towels.
3) In a bowl, mix curd, red chilli powder, pepper powder, a pinch of salt, ½ tsp plain flour and red food colour.
4) In a wok or pan, temper 2 tbsp oil with cumin seeds, mustard seeds and red chillies. Saute it for a couple of minutes and add the curry leaves. Now fry chopped onions, ginger, garlic and slit green chillies on medium high heat.
5) When they become golden brown, pour the curd mixture and add the fried chicken pieces and toss them well till the pieces are coated with the masala and the gravy becomes dry.
6) Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and grated coconut and serve hot. I made Lachcha Paratha with Chicken 65, and will put up the recipe tomorrow!