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Chai Time: Spicy Fried Chicken 65

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Chef Meherwan Irani whips up a spicy batch of Chicken 65 - a popular street food snack in South India, originating in Chennai. Irani's recipe uses a batter spiced w/ kashmiri chili, turmeric, black pepper, hing, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, and lime for acidity + a few other ingredients. ⁣

Post-battering, the chicken gets fried until golden and crispy. Try it paired w/ some Maggi ketchup. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle, send some our way too.

There’s lots of speculation as to how the number “65” became a fixture in this recipe’s identity. Reasons range from it being named after the year it was invented - 1965, to the original recipe using 65 spices, to it being the 65th item on a restaurant’s menu where the dish first gained its popularity. Whatever the reason, we’re just glad it exists.⁣



1lb chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into 1” strips
1 Tbs Spicewalla Black Pepper, table grind
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp Spicewalla Turmeric
1 Tbs Spicewalla Kashmiri Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Hing (optional)
4-6 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
1/2 a lime, juiced
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1.5 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp Spicewalla Black Peppercorns, whole
8-10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 Tbs Spicewalla Coriander Seeds, whole
1 red chili pepper, whole
1 green chili, deeseded and chopped
1” piece of fresh ginger, julienned, for tadka
Safflower oil for frying
Fresh bunch of cilantro


1. In a mixing bowl add chicken, pepper, sugar, Kashmiri, turmeric, fresh ginger & garlic, lime juice, soy sauce and hing if using. Mix everything together to cover chicken with spices. Once mixed, add in flour and cornstarch, mix well again.
2. In a deep pot, bring oil to about 350*F for frying. Pot should have enough oil to submerge chicken. Drop in battered chicken making sure not to overcrowd the pot, fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove chicken from the oil with a slotted spoon or spider and place on a plate with a paper towel.
4. Make tadka: in a small pot heat 1/2 cup of oil over medium-high heat, add in coriander seeds, whole black peppercorns, julienned ginger, red chili pepper, green chili and curry leaves. Let the flavors infuse the oil for about 3 minutes, until oil starts to color spices.
5. Plate fresh cilantro to make a nest, place fried chicken on top, and then spoon your tadka and crispy bits from the oil over the top of the chicken. Top with a little extra lime juice and enjoy!

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