Chicken 65

When my boys come home from school the first thing they do is wash their hands and then check what's for dinner.  They always have to take a taste.  My eldest, Hasan, will then declare if it is Hasan Approved!  This Chicken 65 got a Hasan Approved +!  They absolutely love this dish.  If there are any leftovers, my kids like to take it for lunch in a sandwich.  This recipe is from my mom.  There is one major difference from the way she makes it from how I do. She deep fries the chicken.  I prefer to shallow fry in a skillet.  Of course, the deep fried one is more tasty and the chicken gets a little crispy from the cornstarch.  I shallow fry in an effort to try to make it a little more healthy.

I don't know where the name Chicken 65 originates from.  There are lots of theories from it being first made in 1965 to it having 65 chillies.  There are different ways of making it as well.  Some use soy sauce and some are very dry.  We've also tried Chicken 65 in restaurants but my mom's version remains our favourite.

Chicken 65

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes

1/2 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp tandoori masala (I use Kissan brand)
salt to taste

1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup yogurt
3-4 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp tandoori masala
1/4 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
15 curry leaves
salt to taste
2-3 whole green chillies

Mix together marinade ingredients.  Add chicken and mix well.  It is best to marinate overnight.  If you don't have time to marinate overnight, it will still turn out good if the chicken marinates during the time you are making the sauce, which is usually what I end up doing.

Heat a pan.  Coat the bottom of the pan with oil.  Add onions and fry until golden brown.

Add yogurt, tomatoes, tandoori masala, red chilli powder, turmeric, ginger garlic paste, cilantro, curry leaves and salt.  Mix well.  Keep mixing until the mixture starts to bubble.  This helps to prevent the yogurt from curdling.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook until the oil separates.  If there is still water, remove lid and cook until all the water had evaporated.

Now it's time to fry the chicken.  You can deep fry the chicken.  I prefer to shallow fry in either a non stick or cast iron pan.

Fry the chicken in batches (either deep fry or in a shallow fry in a skillet).  Add to the sauce as the chicken is cooked.  Once all the chicken has been fried and added to the sauce, add the green chillies.  Cover the pan and cook for about 5-10 minutes on low.  The oil should separate again.

We like to enjoy with some hot roti!

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