13 Jan Chicken 65 – The best spicy fried chicken you ever had
Chicken 65 – The best spicy fried chicken you ever had
The coveted chicken 65, a staple in south Indian cooking. But the origins of Chicken 65 and the name is a highly debated controversy. Because the taste is unlike any other fried chicken on the planet, no one knows for sure where it came from. I will try to explain the many versions of the truth, but in the end I will share the recipe, so you can make this delicious fried chicken at home that will mos def knock your socks off.
Let’s start with the name first. There are many different versions. I will let the reader be the judge of the truth, my job is to inform the reader the different version.
- Chicken 65 was created in the year 1965 in Chennai (AKA Madras) the capital of Tamil Nadu and southern Indian state, by chef AM Buhari, who owned a chain of restaurants in the state of Tamil Nadu. The Buhari restaurant opened its doors in 1951 and still serves Chicken 65 on their menu till today.
- The Indian Army canteen in Chennai had a long extensive menu and this was the 65th item to choose from and the soldiers loved it.
- 65 chilies along with 65 day old chicken. Not sure if this was even attempted, but sounds good.
- This one is my fav – there are 65 ingredients that go into the dish. Although not quite true, it’s a great conversation starter and the look on people’s faces are priceless.
As the name has variations, so does the taste and presentation of the chicken 65, so it all depends on where you get it from. Everyone nowadays has their own take on it, so it can make it confusing, because the flavor profile is not consistent between these places. For one, everywhere in the USA uses boneless chicken because it’s easier to eat. Back in India, they use bone in chicken. A lot of places give it to you saucy which is downright blasphemous. Chicken 65 is served dry with no sauce. The crunchiness of the deep frying along side with the softness of the meat in the middle is what attracts everyone to the dish. Then you start adding in those powerful Indian flavors of the spices, and you have a party in your mouth and the best damn fried chicken you have ever tasted. Colonel Sanders doesn’t have anything on this!!!!
Now let’s talk about the flavor. Is it Spicy? Yes it is, but not overpoweringly spicy. You can most definitely turn up the heat by dialing up the chilies, but as it comes in the original recipe, its spicy but not tongue burning spicy. It will make you sweat but not feel like hell is burning on your tongue. The addition of chopped curry leaves gives it an earthy pungent bite with a nutty aroma. Curry leaves work well with other spices, hence why it is widely used in a lot of south Indian dishes. The flavor is complex but elevates the dish to sublime levels. Kashmiri chilies are just plain quality chilies, it is more used for the color than the heat. Although it packs a punch but not as much as you would expect. It packs more of a color punch on the food than the spice level. This is what makes Indian cooking fun, the characteristics of each ingredient is so complex, you have to ensure they play well together with one another.
- 8 oz Boneless thigh cut into pieces
- 5 gram Ginger and 5 gram Garlic Paste Even Parts blend water and oil
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala powder
- 5 gram Lemon Juice
- 10 Finely chopped curry leaves
- ¼ Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Rice Flower
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
- 2 pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- Cooking oil
- Cut boneless thighs into small bite size pieces
- Mix all ingredients in a big bowl and coat the chicken with your hands. Ensure every piece of the chicken gets the spice blend on it.
- Let it sit for a min of 2 hours. It is preferred to have it sit in a fridge overnight, but 2 hours for sure is needed.
- Ensure oil is hot at 350 degrees.
- Put a hand full of chicken pieces one at a time. Do not put too much chicken in the oil as each pieces needs it space in the pot. Ensure the chicken is submerged in the oil. Shouldn’t take more than 5 mins to fry, but check the outside for crispiness to your desire. A good way to check if they are done is when the chicken starts popping up to the top of the oil. Do a couple of times and you will get the hang of it in no time.
- Let it rest for 5-10 mins and serve with curry leaves chopped up for garnish.