You don’t need to look beyond chicken 65 to find a killer appetizer for your next Indian inspired dinner party. It is just that good.
Not a huge shocker. It’s spiced, deep fried chicken bites. Not good enough? Toss those morsels of chicken with some more spice and crispy fried curry leaves.
Still not good enough? Serve it up with bits of shallot, green chili and cilantro. Still not good enough? I can’t help you. Sorry.
Chicken 65 is the ultimate Indian party snack
But this is the ultimate Indian nosh. You could serve it on greens. You could maybe wrap it in Indian flat bread. But I say just serve it up. On a platter. With toothpicks for people to serve themselves.
Grazing style. With drinks. Make lots. They will want more.
Chicken 65. Strange name. And nobody knows why it’s chicken 65. Some say it cost 65 rupees originally. Others say it was invented in a hotel kitchen in 1965.
I say it’s 65 times better than chicken fingers. Seriously though. Who really cares? Chicken 65 is just good. What else matters?
There’s not a lot too it. Mix some chicken up with spices. A bit of cornstarch to crisp things up. Let it sit for while. Make a seasoning paste. Fry up some chicken. Toss it in the seasoning paste. Garnish. And dig in. No dip required. Just eat. And smile.
Deep frying technique is key
Deep frying isn’t that tricky if you know what you are dealing with. Invest in a candy thermometer. You don’t have a chance if you don’t know what temperature your oil is at.
If you have a cast iron skillet that works really well for deep frying. Bit of science. More mass. More thermal stability. That means the heavier the pan, the longer it takes for it to heat up or cool down. That’s good when you’re deep frying.
Get everything to the right temperature. That heavy pan will help keep you there. That’s important. When the oil temperature drops too much you get that awful oil laden, greasy crap.
Keep it hot and you get crispy. Not greasy. Good. That’s what you want.
Fry in small batches. Add too much chicken to the oil at once and the temperature drops too much. Restaurants can get away with more food per batch.
That’s because those deep fryers have a lot of oil. A lot of oil means stable oil temperature. So no greasy crap.
Chicken 65. Strange name. Good eating. It’s addictive. Don’t say you weren’t warned…
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
- vegetable oil for deep frying
Chicken 65 seasoning
- 1 1/2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp tandoori masala (optional - for colour)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp corn starch
Chicken 65 tempering (the final flavour blast)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin seed
- 1/2 tsp mustard seed
- 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
- 1-2 green chilies - finely diced
- 20 fresh curry leaves - if you can get them
Make the tempering
- Heat the oil in a frying pan until it just shimmers. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and fry about 20 seconds. Add the curry leaves and fry another 10 seconds or so. Add the garlic ginger paste and green chilies and cook until the garlic ginger paste stops sputtering. Set aside.
- Combine the chicken 65 seasoning ingredients. Mix well with the chicken thigh pieces. Let sit, covered, in the fridge for about 2 hours.
- Heat enough vegetable oil come up about 1 inch in a cast iron frying pan. Try to regulate your heat so the oil is at 350F. This isn't easy. Take your time. Use a candy/deep frying thermometer.
- Fry the chicken in 3 batches. It doesn't doesn't take long. You want an internal temperature of 165F - around 3-4 minutes. Depends on the temperature of the oil and the size of the chicken pieces...
- As the batches of chicken cook, add them into the frying pan with the tempering. Toss to combine. Add a bit of salt to taste. Garnish. Cilantro, sliced shallots or mild onion and green chili slices all work well.
16 thoughts on “chicken 65 – south indian fried chicken bites”
Thanks so much for sharing this recipe it has become a family favorite. Though I love the original recipe we have made a little change to eliminate the need to deep fry them. we add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to the marinade and then cook them over coals on skewers. Though a little different it remains family favorite. I even bought a curry leaf plant and have it potted in a sunny window just to be sure we have enough fresh leaves on hand.
I so wish I could keep a curry plant alive!
That is a great idea. As soon as the snow melts here I’m going to give it a go.
Tried this a couple times now and love the flavours. Couple questions:
1) the tempering seems a little oily. Is it meant to be or am I just putting too much oil in
2) the tempering stays in the pan. You fry your seasoned chicken separately and add the pieces to the first pan with the tempering. Do you do this directly without heating the tempering?
Looking forward to trying this again already
Glad you enjoyed it. The tempering can be gently reheated if you like. As far as a little oily – if you are adding the amounts specified in the recipe you are doing it as intended. Whether that is too oily for you is a matter of personal preference so I would say do what works for you.
I’ve not made this yet, but I know it will turn out gorgeous, just like all your recipes, so I can’t wait to try it and I will try it with white fish too.
I’m a hopeless gardener, can’t even keep a parsley or coriander plant alive, but the one thing I can grow well is a curry leaf plant, so I’m super happy that I can use these for just about all your recipes! Much appreciated, thank you, Romain!
I’ve never tried it with white fish but I bet it would be great.
I can’t keep a curry leaf plant alive so you are a better gardener than I am.
again you have enriched our family life with a fabulous dish!
For dinner tonight, we had the Chicken 65 together with Kachumber,
different condiments such as garlic pickle, and pita bread.
I had no more Tandoori Masala but some Patak’s Tandoori Marinade.
I added it to the chicken after I had seasoned it. Worked fine!
And the result was absolutely amazing. My son and daughter
asked several times if they could have more (and they got more!).
We ended up with 3 pieces as a leftover, and we discussed
what to do with it tomorrow. The result: for lunch, on a toast
spread with mango chutney and topped with slices of the Chicken 65!
We had a nice German Weißherbst Spätburgunder with it, a fantastic
combination. For us, the Chicken 65 is more than a snack! We love it!
Thank you so much, kindest regards from rainy Germany.
Sounds like an amazing dinner and a great lunch! And a lovely choice of wine to go with it.
Thanks for that info on the cornstarch I have made these now, and they are absolutely beautiful can’t express enough how good your recipes are I’ve passed your website on to so many people. Keep it going can’t wait to try the rest.
Great. Delighted you enjoyed the chicken 65. It’s a tasty little snack!
Hi I just love your dishes I’ve made 7 so far. I was wondering your cornstarch is it just cornflour in the uk? As I’m a little confused or is there something different I could use instead of cornstarch.
I believe it is called cornflour in the UK.
Very easy recipe with lots of flavor. Chicken pieces were crisp and not greasy at all. They were a big hit as an appetizer!
They really do make an addictive appetizer. Great to hear they were a hit!
Amazing, these little chicken spicy bits went down a storm , even the kids loved them .
Still struggling to get hold of some fresh curry leaves, I tried dry ones , not the same.
Would this work with other meats or fish ?
So glad they were a hit. I’ve never tried this with anything other than chicken although now that you mention it, I think a white fish would work nicely as well. Yes – fresh curry leaves really have nothing in common with dried at all. Well worth seeking out. I’ve heard people have had some success keeping a curry leaf plant going but it’s never worked out for me.