Chilly Chicken

Or Indian Chinese Part 1

For all those of you familiar with “Indian Chinese”, you would know that it’s a whole different breed by itself. Not that I’m a big fan of Vir Sanghvi and his Upper Crust opinions, but he did write a relatively “everyman” article in Brunch Magazine about 2 Sundays ago. I still don’t agree with his tone or opinions in many a section, but the article did remind me of Indian Chinese! Although we do go out looking for athentic Chinese now, but the truth is that unless the restaurant is very niche and/or very expensive, they wouldn’t dare remove Chicken Manchurian or Chilly Chicken from the menu. Even if they made it discreet, or served it secretly, they would still have it. And Hakka Noodles are a staple! For that matter, I don’t know of a single, purely Thai restaurant in Delhi. It will always be Chinese and Thai, or Pan-Asian (whatever that means).

As much as I love experimenting with Chinese, AK has his favourites picked out at every restaurant and will order those time and again, without fail. And we both have cravings to have simple no-fuss desi Chinese every so often. So instead of ordering from our neighbourhood Chinese joint, we decided to experiment with Chilly Chicken (which doesn’t exist on any Chinese food menu in any other part of the world).

And this is what we ended up with, served with egg fried rice and Hakka Noodles! So incredibly simple and equally delicious. It did the trick for me, even though I usually pick other meats over chicken any given day.

Here’s what I used (for 3 people):

2 (large) boneless chicken breasts, sliced into 1 inch x 2 inch pieces
2 onions, roughly sliced to match chicken pieces
2 capsicums, roughly sliced to match chicken pieces
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 green chillies, chopped roughly
1/4 cup hot & sweet tomato ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp chilli garlic paste
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ajinomoto (I know it’s bad for you!)
1/2 cup water
3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

For the Marinade:
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp whole black pepper, crushed roughly
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt

Here’s how I made it:

Washed and cut the chicken pieces. Mixed in the marinade ingredients and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes while I prepped the other ingredients.

I heated 2 tbsp of the oil in a kadhai on high heat and added the chicken.

I fried the chicken on high, stirring frequently, until the chicken turned white all over. About 3 minutes.

Removing the chicken from the kadhai, I set it aside on a plate. At this point, you may want to top up with the rest of the oil. I didn’t because I had put it all in at once. Then I added the onions and capsicums.

I fried them for about a minute, until the onions were translucent but the veggies were still crisp-ish. Then I added the garlic and the green chillies.

I mixed and fried this for a minute before adding the chicken back to the kadhai.

Stirring it well, I added the black pepper.

And the ajinomoto.

And gave it a good stir.

I added the ketchup.

And the soy and chilly garlic (don’t have a pic of that).

The vinegar…

Adding the water, I stirred it well.

Placed the lid on it, lowered the heat all the way and let it cook for about 7-8 minutes.

At the last stage, I checked for salt. I like it a little watery and didn’t want a super thick gravy. But if you like it like that, you can add 1 tbsp of cornflour mixed in water (stir well to ensure no lumps and pour it into the chicken while on low heat, stirring constantly). Bring it to a quick boil on high and you’re done!

While the chicken was marinating, I had made the Hakka Noodles, like this earlier recipe, except I added carrots and beans, and left out the burned garlic.

Next I quickly made some burned garlic egg fried rice using 1 cup of cooked white rice. In a kadhai, I scrambled 3 eggs, added in the rice and burned garlic, 1 tbsp soy and that’s it.

Here’s the final meal…

So easy. So Indian Chinese!

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