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  • Green Chili Chicken

    Posted on | October 3, 2010 | 26 Comments |

    Chili Chicken-1

    I have to thank Ms.Bong Mom for reminding me of this recipe.  A few days ago she asked her readers the question “What is a forgotten food in your family that you would like to bring back". As soon as I read the question, my dad’s chili chicken was the first dish that came to my mind. I am pretty sure he made up the recipe on his own, as this is a pre-TV cooking shows, pre-internet age recipe. Just like the majority of the Indian families at the time, my mom was the primary cook of our household. Dad used to help out with cutting the meat, cracking the coconuts open and some other hard laborious tasks like most of the other dads of his era. But unlike many dads I knew at the time, he also knew how to cook, though he used his skills to make only some specialty dishes at the time, unless my mom was sick or away. This chili chicken was the most famous and most loved dish in his repertoire. In those days, chicken was sold whole, there was no concept of buying skinless boneless breasts or drumsticks or anything like that. So he would cut all the meat out of the chicken bones himself, and make this boneless chicken dish that tasted outta this world! He also used to add some orange food coloring in it, so that the final product looked like it came out of a restaurant. And the days he made this, we would make a meal out of it. No rice or roti, just a plateful of chili chicken! Needless to say, those used to be the most-anticipated meals of the time.

    During my initial years of cooking, I tried making this a couple of times, but somehow it was forgotten over the years. Mom and dad also started watching cooking shows and started looking up recipes on the internet that simple recipes like this have been shunned in favor of more “exotic” recipes for any special occasions. My sister and I talk about this dish once in a while, but if it wasn’t for Sandeepa’s question I wouldn’t have suddenly felt the urge to go ahead and make this, so thank you Sandeepa for bringing back all those nostalgic memories!

    The recipe here is not the same as my dad’s, as he used to pressure cook the chicken before frying it. Since the chicken we get here cooks in much less time than the chickens of my childhood, I didn’t use the pressure cooker. He also used to add some food coloring to give it an attractive restaurant look, but I didn’t have any at home and had to resort to frying the chicken till golden brown to get it as close to the look as I could. Other than that the ingredients are pretty much the same. The heat of the dish comes only from green chilies, so use as much or as less as you like.


    • 1lb Boneless, skinless chicken leg meat, cut into small cubes
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
    • 20 Green chilies, split (Use less or more to match your heat tolerance level)
    • 1 tbsp grated ginger
    • A few curry leaves
    • Salt to taste
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • Lemon juice (optional)


    Heat the oil in a large pan and sautĂ© the shallots till soft.  Add the chicken pieces and season with salt and sautĂ© on high heat stirring frequently till the chicken pieces turn white on all sides. At this point the meat would have given out plenty of liquid. Close the pan with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes till the meat is tender.

    Remove the lid and stir in the green chilies, ginger and curry leaves. Cook on medium high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently till the chicken pieces are cooked through and the pieces start to brown a bit.

    Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice if using. Serve hot with beer or a cooling cocktail.

    Category: Chicken, Good with Drinks

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    26 Responses to “Green Chili Chicken”

    1. Chaitali
      October 3rd, 2010 @ 8:52 pm

      20 green chilis! Whoa..I have to make this!
      How many lbs. of chicken should I use?

      • Sig
        October 3rd, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

        Oops, sorry, forgot to mention the quanity. Recipe updated – 1lb chicken. 20 was not too much for the variety of chilies I used. :)

        • Chaitali
          October 4th, 2010 @ 8:17 am

          Great thanks!
          What kind of chilis did you use?
          I was planning to make with it with thai chilis, but I’m guessing that would be way too spicy even for me.

          • Sig
            October 4th, 2010 @ 8:23 am

            I don’t remember the name. It is a variety I’ve never seen before. Our Asian grocery store was doing a big sale on all types of chilies and this was a fairly large type of medium heat. Thai chilies might be too hot, I recommend using a bigger variety of lesser heat so that you get to use more and the dish will look better :)

        • Tony
          October 4th, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

          Make it habanero chili ha ha ha :-)
          I can stand 1 Habanero per pound of chicken though…

          Love this recipe.. simple and quick..
          WIll cook it up tomorrow or something

    2. sra
      October 3rd, 2010 @ 10:38 pm

      We used to order this from Dad’s club till we got our own cook who made this in the initial days he came to work for us. He was a canteen cook earlier, and he knew he had to use something called ‘essence’ and we only had vanilla essence at home so he used that! Can you imagine how surreal it was – chilli chicken smelling of vanilla! We ate it, though, it was alright if we held our noses!

    3. Fathima
      October 3rd, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

      Wow that is most easy recipe that I have seen for chilly chicken… will def try it out!

    4. Happy Cook
      October 4th, 2010 @ 12:00 am

      Oh yes I remember this chiken too , years ago when we went to a place to eat in Kochin hubby ordered this and he thought it was capsicul and took a huge bit od the chicken and the chillie mix, i thought his head will blow as he was looking so so red :-)
      Should make this for him for nostalgic reason :-)

    5. usha
      October 4th, 2010 @ 4:26 am

      Simple and tasty chili chicken! Number of chilies used in this recipe is tempting me to try it out.

      You know what, don’t know if you noticed it, last year, on oct 4th you posted another version of chili chicken, “chicken fry with a green chili marinade”. As I was going thru more like this recipes, I clicked on chicken fry with green chili marinade. What a coincidence! and this year on oct 3th it is green chili chicken.

      • Sig
        October 6th, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

        Looks like October weather makes me want to eat some spicy chili chicken :) Never noticed that, thanks for pointing that out Usha!

    6. shilpa
      October 4th, 2010 @ 4:52 am

      I am going to try this soon. Looks so delicious.

    7. notyet100
      October 4th, 2010 @ 6:40 am

      ummm perfect will try this after the navratris,.:-)

    8. Jyothsna
      October 4th, 2010 @ 10:31 am

      Quite a simple preparation, I will be trying this soon.

    9. indosungod
      October 4th, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

      Wow! that sure looks delicious.
      I have just the right chilies for this dish. Now for the chicken to whip this one up.

    10. Chitra Nair
      October 6th, 2010 @ 3:03 am

      Oooh…that looks yummy! I must try it out….the number of chillies is daunting, though! :-D Isn;t it wonderful to have such memories? My dad was also one of those who could cook….I remember Sundays being his day in the kitchen and my mom’s day off… he’d make this wonderful mutton curry and as you mentioned in your post, we’d be happy to eat just that or the mutton chops, sans rice or rotis! I’m glad he has passed it on to us, his daughters, even though we have given up eating mutton…we make it with chicken though! Nice reading, Sig.

    11. Arch
      October 6th, 2010 @ 6:18 am

      Awesome number of chilies !! Reminds me of the chilli chicken we get in the Andhra restaurants in Bangalore…When you visit Bangalore next, pls go to this place called Fishland, modest place, but their chili chicken and fish fry is to die for…I am sure you will love the food there…
      And Sig, thanks a zillion, just got the book, its super…Thank you soooooooo much

    12. Soma
      October 7th, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

      I can just imagine how this will taste! The indo chinese chili chicken back home that we had would have tons and tons of green chilies. some onion, and of course the soy sauce etc. But it is all those green chilies that makes that actual flavor come thru. This is inspiring to make the indo chinese one.

    13. sangeeta
      October 8th, 2010 @ 1:44 am

      Hi Sig …this is such a simple and foolproof recipe. i am sure all chicken loving households cook one or the other version of this recipe here in India.
      We call it chicken tawa bhurji and it’s a finger food with drinks most of the times….:)

    14. Cynthia
      October 10th, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

      I am such a fan of your chicken dishes. Thanks to your dad for the inspiration.

    15. LimeCake
      October 10th, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

      oh yum! i love spicy food and this looks delicious!

    16. Miri
      October 11th, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

      Simple – Superb as usual :) This will definitely be a favourite when I try it….the heat levels are delicious!

    17. Reena John
      October 20th, 2010 @ 6:27 am

      I followed this recipe last night. It came up better than I expected. Since I didn’t have shallots, I used a combination of yellow onion, red onion and garlic all chopped to the same size. I wish I had used more chillies. The ones I used were the serrano chillies and I was not daring enough to use up to 20. Next time I will. And since I didn’t have curry leaves one hand, I substituted for coriander leaves, just a few sprigs and I thought it added a nice nutty, minty touch to the dish. Anyway thanks for the inspiration to try something new, a dish without any of the usual curry powders.

      Best regards,


    18. Jeya Murugan
      November 11th, 2010 @ 4:33 am

      I tried; perfect. good taste.

    19. PreeOccupied
      December 14th, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

      I have once made a variation of the chili chicken with cashews, but never this way. I love curry leaves and have a feeling your recipe should be perfect with some plain rice.

    20. jude
      September 27th, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

      I think this is going to taste like the green chilli chicken one gets at Aamravathi in Bangalore!Makes one’s ears burn….but it is to die for!Thank you for sharing this and all yr other recipes! The Tamil fish curry was a blast!!