The Big Boys Curry Book

20 Chilli Chicken

This relatively new temple is proof of the continued importance of religion to Indian life

This Tamil dish is hot, very hot. Quite brilliant just the same. In addition to a snack, it makes a great starter to a dinner party when it would be served on a bed of green leaves, red onion rings, tomatoes and sliced cooked beetroot, (very important as it has cooling properties.) It is quite possibly one of the hottest dishes I have come across, but it is very wonderful. The heat of the chillies is accentuated by the lemon juice to give a sharp, dry heat. If you cannot stand the heat, use a mild variety of chilli like Kashmiri with just a few hot ones


  • 20 large hot dry red chillies, soaked in warm water
  • 1 tspn cummin
  • 1/2 tspn fennel
  • 2 tbslpn coriander seed
  • 3 - 4gr fresh ginger, peeled and pulped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 1lb boned, skinned chicken
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying.
  • Lemon wedges to garnish.


  1. Dry roast the cummin, fennel and coriander together and then grind with the drained chillies
  2. Mix spice with ginger, lemon juice and salt in a bowl.
  3. Chop chicken into bite size pieces
  4. Add chicken to bowl and mix in marinade thoroughly. Cover and leave in fridge overnight or for 3 hours minimum.
  5. Heat oil on steep sided pan or wok. You'll need at least 1 inch of oil in bottom of pan.
  6. Fry chicken pieces (covered in marinade) a few at a time, do not overcrowd. Chicken should take only a few minutes to cook and will be dark golden brown on outside, white and juicy on the inside. Allow each batch to drain on kitchen paper and allow oil to re-heat before next batch. You can keep chicken warm in a low oven until all is ready.
  7. Serve with lemon wedges.

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