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  • Chilli Chicken

    Posted on | May 14, 2007 | 34 Comments |

    Chilli Chicken is a loose term used to describe a variety of dry chicken preparations in India. There is no standard recipe for it, everyone uses the culinary license to make their own versions of this popular dish. I have multiple variations of chilli chicken recipes, it is the perfect dish to experiment with. This particular recipe is based on a tried and loved Pepper Chicken recipe from Hooked On Heat. I This time I used Meena’s base technique of sautéing the marinated chicken pieces, and modified the rest of the recipe to make my version of Chilli Chicken.


    •  4 boneless skinless chicken thighs cubed (~ 1.5 lbs)
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1.5 tbsp red chilli powder
    • salt to taste
    • 1.5 cups sliced onions
    • 2 tbsp minced garlic
    • 1 tbsp minced ginger
    • 5 sliced green chilies
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp vinegar
    • 3 tbsp sliced green onions (optional)
    • oil


    Mix the chicken pieces with turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt and marinate for half an hour.

    In the mean time, heat a little oil in a pan and sauté the sliced onions and green chilies till onions are soft and translucent. Remove from the pan and keep aside.

    In the same pan, heat some more oil and sauté the marinated chicken pieces till the pieces are cooked through. Remove from the pan and keep aside.

    In the same pan, add a little more oil if needed, and sauté the garlic and ginger till brown. Reduce the heat and add the tomato paste and fry for a minute. Add the soy sauce and vinegar and salt and mix well to make a sauce.

    Add the fried chicken pieces to the pan and mix well to coat the chicken pieces with the sauce. Add the prepared onions and chilies and mix well.

    Finally add the sliced green onions and cook on medium for a few minutes till the sauce is completely dried out.

    This makes a nice appetizer and is best with cold beer.


    • I prefer dark meat for recipes like this, but it contains a little more fat and calories than white meat, you can replace the thighs with boneless breast pieces if you prefer white meat.
    • It is a dish on the spicy side, adjust the amount of chilli powder and number of green chilies to suite your palette. 
    • My dearest vegetarian friends can use paneer or tofu or cauliflower in place of chicken.
    Category: Appetizers and Snacks, Chicken, Indo Chinese, Recipes

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    34 Responses to “Chilli Chicken”

    1. sushma
      May 14th, 2007 @ 3:19 am

      That looks simply mouth watering … what a perfect blend of color and texture….Mmm I wanna have it now :-)

    2. bee
      May 14th, 2007 @ 4:58 am

      call it ‘quick chilli chicken’ and send it to nupur. :-D

    3. reena
      May 14th, 2007 @ 5:36 am

      i don’t know if it is the white background or my eyes..i can see that gorgeous chilli chicken coming out of my laptop.

    4. Sig
      May 14th, 2007 @ 5:39 am

      Sushma , :) thanks… it tasted great too… and it is an easy recipe..

      Bee… lol you are giving me some ideas for Q

      Reena , I am guessing it is all those spiked juleps you’ve been having over the weekend… :)

    5. Meeta
      May 14th, 2007 @ 5:42 am

      Awesome Sig!
      I just love the way it pops out at you!

    6. musical
      May 14th, 2007 @ 5:56 am

      Sig, really, i am saying this for the umpteenth time! Your dishes entice a lot ;) even to vegetarians!!

      Whatta picture it is! and you know what will i do next, right :) ).

    7. Sig
      May 14th, 2007 @ 5:58 am

      Meeta, thanks :)

      Musie thanks girl, you know you are one of the very few selected people that I added the last note for :)

    8. Asha
      May 14th, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

      Yum!! I love the photo.I have one chilli chicken too,love it for a quick lunch.Good looking dish Sig:)

    9. Richa
      May 14th, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

      sig, that is one extremely tempting dish, so paneer it will be….
      i also add a few pieces of sliced bell pepper while sauteing onion+chili, goes well :)

    10. Nandita
      May 14th, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

      Your photos are just as pretty as you! This would be available in some restaurants by the name of Chicken CHilli 65 or some such LOLLL

    11. Sukanya Ramkumar
      May 14th, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

      Hay that’s a mouth watering one..Excellent picture….YUMMY!!!! I love it…

    12. Mandira
      May 14th, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

      This used to be my favorite dish in Bercos or Zen in delhi. Yours looks gorgeous, I’m going to try your version!

    13. Karin
      May 14th, 2007 @ 4:11 pm

      I like easy recipes and very often I cook chicken. I am not sure about turmeric powder. What exactly is it? If I can´t get that, is there a substitute?

    14. Sig
      May 14th, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

      Asha, you are right, it makes a quick lunch since it is so easy to whip up.

      Richa, this will be great with paneer. I normally use bell pepper slices in chilli chicken, but since it adds a sweet flavor sometimes try without it, the dish will taste different, just for the variety. :)

      Nandita … <blush> :)

      Sukanya Thanks :)

      Mandira, thanks and welcome… try it and let me know if it is as good as the restaurant version :)

    15. Sig
      May 14th, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

      Karin, turmeric is a yellow colored spice powder used in most of the Indian dishes. Read more about it here:

      It is used for its medicinal values and for color I guess. It is available in Asian grocery stores and organic food stores like whole foods. But if you don’t have it, you can omit it, shouldn’t make any difference in taste. Let me know how it turns out :)

    16. Karin
      May 14th, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

      Thanks, now I know what it is. As a matter of fact, I´ve got a jar in my spice cupboard. It´s called “gurkmeja” in Swedish.

    17. Mishmash !
      May 14th, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

      Just wondering or rather curious to know why some of your pictures glitter(cant find any other word:P!! Is it the camera or some artificial light from top or some tool effect ?



    18. sunita
      May 14th, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

      I left a comment earlier, can’t see it though…btw, the dish looks great…one of our favourites…

    19. musical
      May 14th, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

      and i am flattered ;)


    20. indosungod
      May 14th, 2007 @ 9:31 pm

      Simply irresistible.

    21. Sig
      May 14th, 2007 @ 9:52 pm

      Karin, great… and now I learned a new word too :)

      Shn, not exactly sure what you mean :) I have zero knoledge about the lighting and stuff, I normally take pics in the night, so I switch off the direct lights and use the flash to light it up… may be that is reflecting from the pic? Also, I use the sharpen feature in the imaging software for some pictures, may be that is giving the “glitter”! :)

      Sunita sorry your comment got eaten by blogger, and thanks for commenting again… :)

      Musie :)

      Indo thanks :)

    22. Jeena
      May 14th, 2007 @ 11:12 pm

      Hi there nice recipe looks yummy :)

    23. Sandeepa
      May 15th, 2007 @ 1:29 am

      I love chilli chicken all kinds, Benarasi to Madrasi ;-)
      This one looks great

    24. Cynthia
      May 15th, 2007 @ 3:02 am

      The colour of the chilli powder and tomato paste really gives the dish a deep, rich colour that lifts it from being just another chicken dish. Lovely Sig.

    25. Sig
      May 15th, 2007 @ 6:16 am

      Jeena, thanks!

      Sandeepa , lol “Benarasi to Madrasi”, me too :)

      Cynthia, thanks… I love using tomato paste, just for the color…

    26. Meena
      May 15th, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

      This looks delicious Sig! I’m not a big fan of white meat either, don’t find it moist enough. I often use boneless thighs for recipes like these, simly melts in your mouth! :)

    27. MeltingWok
      May 16th, 2007 @ 9:51 am

      Turmeric’s such an essential ingredient in recipes like this, looks so good, perhaps can use that as a leftover in a wrap yea ? Cheers !:)

    28. Shantanu
      May 16th, 2007 @ 1:48 pm

      Reminds me of earlier days, when all the culinary delights I could afford were available in restaurants that served indian+chinese! And of course, chilly chicken, which is as ubiquitous in India as Vindaloo is in the Indian restaurants in the US!

    29. Pravs
      May 18th, 2007 @ 12:41 am

      oh i will love this.. looks spicy and yummy ! lovely pic !!

    30. Nadia
      January 15th, 2008 @ 6:30 am

      what type of Tomato paste should I be using?

      I used the heinz tomato paste, you can get small cans of tomato paste in any grocery stores in the US. Otherwise, you can skin and pulp a tomato and use that too…

    31. rabia
      September 4th, 2008 @ 4:59 pm


    32. Michelle
      December 24th, 2008 @ 8:11 am

      what kind of vinegar do you use, just regular white or other?

      • sig
        December 24th, 2008 @ 11:21 am

        Regular White Vinegar.

    33. sita
      January 30th, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

      i love it