“Uma, a post-doc in the Shacklett lab once brought a version of this to a lab potluck dinner. She gave me her recipe, but it was slightly cryptic. To this point I have had no experience cooking Indian food, so I consulted other recipes to get a better idea how to make this dish. I came across this one and really liked the idea of a nice, robust marinade for the chicken. This recipe is a lot more work than Uma’s, but it is really tasty with a nice crispy chicken. It is also a bit more spicy, especially if you make it with the tempering. However, the Chennai-style is still very flavorful and a good option for those who prefer something more mild. If you do go spicy, I recommend serving it with some raita.” – April Ferre
- 1/4 Cup Plain Yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
- 1 to 1 1/2 Teaspoon Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- 3/4 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Curry Leaves Finely Chopped
- 600 Grams (About 1.3 Pounds) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs Cut in 1-Inch Pieces
For Tempering: Optional for More Heat
- 1/4 Cup Yogurt
- 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon Garlic Paste
- 1 to 2 Teaspoons Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper Optional, For More Heat
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Minced
- 6 Curry Leaves Rinse & Pat Dry
- 2 Green Chilies Slit, Deseeded & Pat Dry
- Juice of 1 Lemon
For Batter to Coat:
- 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
- 2 Teaspoons Rice Flour
- 1 Egg White
For Deep Frying:
- Oil for Deep Frying
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Curry Leaves Rinse & Pat Dry
- 4 to 6 Green Chiles Slit, Deseeded & Pat Dry
- Raw Onion Slices Optional
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for marinade except chicken. Mix until well combined. Add chicken and stir well to coat.
- Marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
Prepare Tempering (if desired, for more heat):
- In a small bowl, combine yogurt, garlic paste, chili powder, sugar, salt and pepper.
- In another small bowl, combine chopped garlic, curry leaves and green chilies. Set aside.
Deep Fry Chicken:
- In a large Dutch oven, add oil for deep frying about 1-inch deep. Heat oil over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, place chicken in a large bowl and add cornstarch, rice flour and egg white. Mix well to combine.
- Test oil to see if it is hot enough by dropping in a small bit of batter. If it immediately sizzles and rises to the surface, it is ready. If it sinks, it is not hot enough.
- When ready, gently drop individual pieces of chicken into the oil. Do not over crowd the pan. Do not disturb the chicken for 2 minutes, then stir them and let them cook until they are deep golden brown and very crisp. Remove chicken to a steel colander and continue frying the chicken in batches.
Deep Fry Curry Leaves & Chilies:
- Reduce heat to low and place curry leaves on a skimmer or strainer ladle and gently lower into the oil. Fry the leaves until crisp. Curry leaves will crisp quickly, so be careful not to burn. Move leaves to a small bowl.
- Add slit green chilies to the ladle and fry until blistered. Add to fried curry leaves.
To Serve Chennai Style:
- Combine fried chicken, curry leaves and green chilies and toss to combine.
To Serve Hyderabadi-Style with Tempering:
- Add 2 Tablespoons oil from deep frying to a large skillet. Heat oil over medium heat.
- Add chopped garlic, curry leaves and green chilies and cook for 1 minute until the curry leaves are crisp, but do not brown the garlic. Push spices to the edge of the skillet and then turn down the heat to low.
- Add prepared chili-garlic paste and cook until the sauce is thick and oily.
- Add chicken and stir until well coated. Remove to a large bowl and toss with fried curry leaves and green chilies.
- Sprinkle over a squeeze of lemon and serve with raw onion slices.
2023 Recipe – April Ferre – From Swasthi’s Recipes