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  • Chicken Fry with a Green Chili Marinade

    Posted on | October 4, 2009 | 45 Comments |

    Whenever I think about spicy chicken dishes there is one dish that stands out in my mind; one perfect chicken preparation that I measure all the others against. It’s been more than a decade since I last had it. So I am not sure if it is as good as I remember or if it is one of those situations where you keep talking about something and build it up so much that after a while the original is kind of forgotten and gets replaced by this exaggerated version. Anyway, I am talking about the chili chicken from Nandhini – a chain of restaurants in Bangalore specialized in Andhra cuisine. The Nandhini Chili Chicken was made with a spicy green chili paste and had chili seeds floating in a thick gravy. We used to have it with everything – biryani , Andhra “meals”, rotis, regardless of the entrée, this chili chicken was a must have side dish. Sometimes we’d just go get some beers and this chili chicken. It was that good! Just writing about it makes me drool!


    At this point, you must be thinking that I have the Nandhini Chili Chicken recipe for you. Sorry to get your hopes up, but since I could hardly make an omelette at the time I never really paid attention to what was in the dish or how it was made. So I have no idea how to recreate anything even remotely close to that one. If anyone has the recipe, please let me know! I will be eternally grateful to you. So you must be wondering why I went on and on about that if I wasn’t going to share that recipe with you. Well, I was thinking about the Nandhini Chili Chicken when I came up with this recipe. The only similarity here is the abundant use of green chilies and the fact that this is lipsmackingly good too, if I say so myself ;) And yeah, it is another easy-peasy chicken preparation. Always good with a cold beer! And this time I managed to take a few step-by-step pics too, if that helps at all!



    • 1.5 lbs chicken, cut into medium size as shown in the pics (I used half of a whole chicken, so it has both white and dark meat)
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • 1/4 cups Red Onion, diced
    • lots and lots of Curry Leaves
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
    • 2 tbsp lime juice
    • To Grind
    • 15 green chilies (or to taste)
    • 1 medium sized red onion
    • 2 tbsp heaped ginger slices
    • 8 cloves of garlic
    • Salt to taste
    • 3 tbsp vinegar


    Wash the chicken pieces and drain well with paper towels. Make the marinade by grinding all the ingredients in the To Grind section to a coarse paste.  Marinate the chicken in this paste for at least 30 minutes.

    Heat oil in a large pan and saute the diced onions and half of the curry leaves till onions starts to brown. Add the black pepper and saute for a few seconds. (Pic 1)

    Now add the marinated chicken pieces to the pan and mix well (Pic 2). Saute till the chicken pieces turn white.

    Cover the pan and cook on high for 6 minutes. Remove the lid and keep stirring till all the liquid is dried up and the chicken pieces turns brown. (Pic 3)

    Add the lemon juice and the remaining curry leaves and (more salt if needed) and saute for another couple of minutes. (Pic 4)

    Serve hot.

    Category: Chicken, Good with Drinks

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    45 Responses to “Chicken Fry with a Green Chili Marinade”

    1. shilpa
      October 4th, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

      Ohh just the mention of chilli chicken from Nandini is making me hungry (and I am having my dinner while reading this). We absolutely loved it. I tooo didn’t pay much attention to recipes when I was in India and now I miss them so much :( .
      Your chilli chicken looks great too. I love the curry leaves. Have to try this sometime.

    2. Vijitha Shyam
      October 4th, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

      oh Sig thats too tempting! yummy. I always use curry leaves in authentic dishes. It makes them super aromatic and super tasty

    3. shankari
      October 4th, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

      Sig, I love the chili chicken from Nandhini- it was so spicy, I actually fell sick eating it :lol: But I still talk about how great it tasted. I remember my colleague asking and the server saying it was marinated for 24 hours in a green chilly brine marinade..wonder what that means. But I am definitely making this spicy chicken

      • sig
        October 5th, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

        Green chilli brine.. hmm… that gives me some ideas. But still I don’t know how they made that gravy or if the chicken is fried or anything. But I am sure going to marinate chicken in a green chilly brine for 24 hours next time :) Thanks Shankari!

    4. SuperChef
      October 4th, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

      aaahh..chicken fry!. You know who will be extremely happy if i make this at home ;)

    5. Arch
      October 4th, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

      Oh ya ! Th chilli chicken from Nandini…yummmmm…There is this other modest place called Fishland in Gandhinagar area in Bangalore which obviously serves awesome sea food, but also has a mind-blowing chilli chicken there, very similar to the one at Nandini, and totally lip-smacking…we would have tears rolling down when we ate that, it was so spicy, but you just cant stop !!

    6. Sra
      October 4th, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

      I love the dish you’re talking about – not that I’ve eaten at Nandhini (tho’ I think I have) but I love the taste of fried green chillies and I’ve had dishes like this here and there, you’re making me salivate for some now!
      Also, I identify with the first part of you post v well.

    7. Nirmala
      October 4th, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

      mmm…but isn’t that 15 chillies burning your lips, mouth etc. The count makes me bit afraid but the cooked chicken makes me drool enough.

      • sig
        October 5th, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

        15 chilies once all fried up was not all that spicy :)

    8. nags
      October 5th, 2009 @ 5:17 am

      the marinade itself makes me drool. i use pretty much same marinade with eggplants, with some added coconut. yumm it is!

    9. notyet100
      October 5th, 2009 @ 5:27 am

      ummm this is makin me drool here,…

    10. Mamatha
      October 5th, 2009 @ 6:00 am

      I remember eating the Biriyani at Nandhini – wiping the tears from my eyes with one hand while bravely working on the biriyani with the other. I’ve probably had the chicken dish you talk about but don’t remember. I love how all your dry meat dishes have lots of fried curry leaves. Good one this Sig!

    11. hb
      October 5th, 2009 @ 6:10 am

      My mom says green chillies bring out the real taste in any dish,true andhra style you see. I can see that here, want to eat it right away!

    12. Soma
      October 5th, 2009 @ 6:45 am

      Sig you have any plans to come to Dallas? You are very welcome to stay in my home but you will have to cook:-D Darn, here I have to carry out thali & pasta & torture myself seeing these:-)

      I have a recipe for the green chili sauce that we used to get in India.. written in a 20 year old tiny piece of paper.. Somehow your post reminded me of that. I will make the sauce as soon as i am upto it, then will make the chicken.

      & thanks a bunch for the kind words about the review.LOL.. it took long, becoz i took too much time figuring out how to do it.

    13. Rina
      October 5th, 2009 @ 7:16 am

      Lovely chicken preparation Sig..This reminds me of something similar I use to make, ground green chillies, garlic and yogurt and use to bake the chicken legs..U inspire me to post that recipe now..

    14. Happy Cook
      October 5th, 2009 @ 7:25 am

      I am also licking my lips just by the thought of eating this delicous chicken.
      Som have all the luch in eating all these dleicous dishes.

    15. sheba
      October 5th, 2009 @ 9:33 am

      turned veg from this morning for a few days..but seeing the pic I am really really close to giving up…in one word WOW!!

    16. Ann
      October 5th, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

      Yum – that looks fiery. I’m interested in the brine one of your commenters mentioned, maybe that is the elusive last piece to get to the original recipe. But hope springs eternal, in the meantime, I’m trying your version!

    17. Smitha
      October 5th, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

      Sig, the recipe and pics are making me droool..I ve a question… I am a novice in cooking… my chicken dishes get the red/brown color from the chilly powder … Here, u havent used any chilly powder but the chicken is a wonderful brown color… is it bcoz of the fried onions? I love the taste/heat of green chillies much more than chilly powder but my husband loves it the other way.. with this recipe I guess I can fool him :)

      • sig
        October 5th, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

        Hi Smitha, the brown color is from just frying the chicken and the masala. If you just fry chicken without any marinade, that will also eventually turn brown. And yeah, nobody will miss the chilli powder in this recipe, it is wonderfully hot from all that green chilies.

    18. Miri
      October 6th, 2009 @ 12:35 am

      Slurp Slurp – this one will have Hubby’s heart singing!!! thanks for the recipe – another one of your must-haves! I think the curry leaves take a chicken recipe like this to another level

    19. Bong Mom
      October 7th, 2009 @ 5:02 am

      I never had Nandhini Chili Ch :( , should have met you while in B’lore

      This looks super tasty

    20. Rg
      October 8th, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

      sounds delicious. Will sure try it out. Beer kezhikyum ennu paryumbol, ennikyu albudham thonnunu. By the way, I made your chettinad Chicken few days back and it turned out very good, easy and tasty. thanks for your wonderful recipes.

    21. Jyothsna
      October 9th, 2009 @ 6:14 am

      I just marinated some chicken tandoori style! Next time I’ll do this chilli marinade!

    22. spice and more
      October 11th, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

      That looks and sounds delicious. Now which one will I try first – the Chettinand chicken or this green chillie one…hmmm…

    23. Minal
      November 22nd, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

      Eh my eating bland pasta and you remind me of nandhini chiken. :mrgreen: well i have the andhra recipe…its very similar to what you have tried here. the variation is..guntur green chillies slit, salted (rock salt preferred) and kept aside for a couple of hours–> grind this and store. Use a spoonful of this mixture in the marinade,along with curry leaves powder, pepper coarsey powdered,turmeric, a lil coriander leaves ground with ginger garlic.marinade for 4-5 hours. take oil, fry the marinated chiken, keep aside. in the same oil, fry diced onions, curry leaves and add fried chiken pieces. add some lime juice if you like it tangy. The chiken used generally for this recipe is the egg laying variety.

    24. Melissa
      December 22nd, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

      I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here:

      Editor and Community Developer — The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit

    25. lakshmy
      January 24th, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

      Tried this out and it turned out well…Thanks to you…Btw,my husband recognised it to be the bangalore-nandhini chilli chicken from its texture itself.So you have done it almost the same way…congrats and thanks for the wonderful recipe:)

    26. ronroo
      February 9th, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

      Hello everyone,

      can someone please post the recipe resembling the nandini chilli chicken. I used to eat it almost everyday when I was in bangalore. I remembered it yesterday and has been searching for the recipe ever since. Can’t stop thinking about it. its one of the few dishes along with biryani at hyderbadi biryani house I remember exactly how it tasted even after eating them more than 2 years back.

      Thanks in advance

    27. Swetha
      March 17th, 2010 @ 3:14 pm


      I was wondering if we have to add chilli powder because i dint get the brown color..Nevertheless,the recipe is really good!!

      • sig
        June 17th, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

        No Chili powder, it turns brown after sauteeing.

    28. VishnuPriya
      June 17th, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

      Hi Sig,
      Thanks For the recipe, I think this recipe is named as Chatriya Chicken in Nandhini currently…I googled it yesterday n ended up with urs…Today tried it out…came out exactly as like Nandhini…some minor modifications to get exactly…by not adding pepper n leaving out some thick sticky gravy over the chicken…Thank U once again…

      • sig
        June 17th, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

        That is great to know! Thanks for the feedback VishnuPriya!

    29. chilipari
      August 4th, 2010 @ 3:08 am

      En effet c’est clair !

    30. Ravi
      September 16th, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

      Sig, Thanks for the recipe. Will have to try it soon. Nandini, Mayuri and other Andhra-style restaurants from the 80s and 90s were outstanding. I definitely remember the “Andhra Style Chilli Chicken” and also it’s sister dish, the “Manchurian Chinese Chilli Chicken”. Not sure what’s Manchurian about it, but it certainly smacked the taste buds alright. Not sure whether they still serve this particular dish. Will have to try next time I’m in B’lore.


    31. Aliena Varghese
      September 21st, 2010 @ 12:31 am

      im trying this today for my bro in law. Will let you know how it turns out!

    32. Sun
      March 6th, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

      Holy smoke,

      I cooked this. It came out fantastic. Always liked the Nandini style andhra chilli chicken, did not know how to make it.

      It just blew my ears and nose out. Will be making it every weekend.

      Thanks for the recipe.

    33. PreeOccupied
      December 6th, 2011 @ 8:48 am

      Came here from Sandeepa’s. I have to give this recipe a try soon. Maybe over the weekend. I love the way it looks. Will let you know how I fare.

    34. lifelong
      December 9th, 2011 @ 10:25 am

      Hi Sig & Sandeepa

      Great recipes are simple. But I am scared. Just that I am really paying little attention to how the best dishes are cooked and that too when the best opportunities to learn abound aplenty with the likes of you around and perhaps even more everyday in the lovely Indian kitchen- just scared that one fine day may find myself struggling in some foreign kitchen with not so familiar spices/recipes around and no body to tell you how to keep it simple. Mouth watering even not having cooked or eaten this stuff! – Thanks

    35. Srini
      March 26th, 2012 @ 6:50 am

      Ok, I read all of your comments and I know how much you all want the Nandini Chilly Chicken. Btw I am from Bangalore and now settled in Dubai…I miss my chilly chicken and beer :( …I am a regular at one of the Nandini’s and got this recipe…hope it will help you guys… Do any of you remember the chilly sauce we used to be served in restaurants? the one with no sugar in it…green colored ones…yeah…you need that sauce..chicken..curry leaves…salt…lots of green chillies… vinegar …soya sauce…garlic and ginger… first fry the garlic and ginger…add the green chilly sauce to it…soya sauce..a bit of vinegar…add green chilly uncut….stir for 10 -15 min till it becomes a fine paste…now add the chicken and pour a glass of water and let it cook for 20 more minutes…now add salt ..stir and wait till the chicken is tender… now taste the dish… yummy andhra chilly chicken… also add other basic spices if you need… but this recipe was got from one of the hotel staff… hope you guys will enjoy it… the difficult part is to find a gree chilly sauce without sugar in it…I was not able to find one in Dubai…hope you guys do…keep cooking… :)

    36. Nikhil
      May 17th, 2012 @ 3:51 pm


      I made this dish this evening. My verdict– excellent taste. My problem was that, despite making incissions into the chicken and marinating it for 4 hours, the flavor of the masalas didn’t get absorbed by the chicken. Do you have any suggestions? The masalas were delicious, however.

      I think also next time, I will cook it with the lid on the whole time– I think the dish might benefit from more ras.

      Thanks for a great recipe.

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