Learn how to make restaurant style chicken chili dry and gravy at home. This super popular Indo Chinese recipe is made with crispy fried chicken, onions, and green chilies in a Chinese style sauce. Serve with fried rice, or egg noodles.
So many of you appreciated the chicken Manchurian recipe that I shared last week. That’s why today I am sharing another Indo Chinese favorite recipe of mine - chicken chili dry. It’s taken me a few tries, and I finally have a chicken chili dry recipe that tastes like the one that you get at Pakistani and Indian Chinese restaurants.
What is chicken chili dry?
Chicken chili dry is a popular dish at Indo Chinese restaurants, and it is made with chicken, onions, and green chilies. Certain restaurants also add capsicum / green bell pepper as well. It is on the spicy side due to the use of the green chilies, and it is also known for not having gravy. That is why it is called chicken chili dry. There are variations of this recipe which have chili sauce and tomato sauce. You can add those if you prefer, but the version I am sharing today uses just soy sauce and vinegar, and has what we call a white Chinese style gravy. Restaurants also offer a chicken chili dry with gravy option for people who want the flavor of this dish in a gravy version. In the recipe, I have added notes on how to make a gravy version of chicken chili dry.
Making chicken chili dry, restaurant style:
- Velveting the chicken – this is a technique used by Chinese restaurants to make tender and juicy chicken. Start off with tossing the sliced chicken pieces in baking soda and let them sit for about 20 minutes. Wash the chicken pieces and pat them dry. You can now proceed with the chicken chili dry marinade. This step can be skipped if there isn’t enough time, but the additional step does result in super tender chicken.
- Marinating and frying the chicken – marinate the sliced chicken with garlic paste, white pepper powder, salt and soy sauce and then add flour along with cornflour. Let the chicken marinate for 15 minutes, and then fry till crispy and golden brown. Set aside. Restaurants will usually deep fry the chicken, but I like to shallow fry as it reduces the amount of oil used.
- Making the chicken chili dry stir fry – take a wok or large frying pan and saute ginger, garlic and green chilies till their aroma is released. Then add the onions. If you want to add capsicum / green bell pepper it needs to be added at this stage. Add spices, along with soy sauce, vinegar, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then add the fried chicken. Toss the chicken through the sauce, and serve hot with fried rice or egg noodles if you are feeling experimental.
Chicken chili dry - gravy version:
To make a gravy version of this popular recipe, just add 1 cup of water before adding the chicken. Add additional soy sauce, vinegar and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then add a cornflour slurry to thicken the sauce. Once the sauce is thickened, add fried chicken and toss through. Serve hot with fried rice or egg noodles.
Here are some other Chinese recipes that you can try out:
- Chicken corn soup
- Hot and sour soup
- Chilli garlic fried rice
- Sweet and sour chicken
- Chicken and vegetable spring rolls
- Sesame chilli chicken
- Fish and vegetable stir fry
- Chicken Manchurian
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
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Chicken Chili Dry | Indo Chinese Chili Chicken Recipe
For chicken velveting:
- 300 grams chicken breast sliced
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda / bicarbonate soda
For chicken marination:
- ½ teaspoon garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 3 tablespoon cornflour / cornstarch
For the chicken chili dry sauce (see recipe notes for gravy version):
- 3 tablespoons oil divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon sliced ginger
- 2 – 3 green chilies sliced diagonly (adjust as per taste and spiciness of chilies)
- ½ onion sliced
- 2 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoon vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper powder
For velveting chicken:
- Place the sliced chicken breast in a bowl and toss with baking soda. Marinate for 20 minutes in the fridge.
- Rinse the chicken under running water, making sure all the baking soda is rinsed out. Use a paper towel to dab off the excess water.
- This step will ensure that chicken breast is super tender, just like it is at Chinese restaurants.
Marinating the chicken and frying chicken:
- In another clean bowl, place the rinsed and dried chicken. Add the marinade ingredients and mix well. Marinate for 15 minutes in the fridge.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet / frying pan or wok on medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot enough, add the sliced chicken and fry for 2 – 3 minutes each side till the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Make sure the oil isn’t too hot else the chicken will cook from the outside but not from inside.
- Remove the chicken using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Making the chicken chili dry:
- Remove the excess oil from the skillet / frying pan and place it on medium heat.
- Add the sliced ginger and minced garlic and fry for a minute till the garlic and ginger are light golden brown and their aroma is released.
- Add the sliced green chili and fry for about 30 – 45 seconds.
- Add the sliced onion, and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce, vinegar, salt and white pepper along with 2 tablespoons of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then add the fried chicken.
- Toss the chicken through the sauce and cook for a few minutes till the chicken is heated through. Serve hot with fried rice.
Loved this delicious and straightforward recipe!
Mahum Masroor says
Loved the recipe! Can you make a version of chilli chicken that has gravy also?
This recipe has literally become my go-to recipe! So easy to make and so FLAVORFUL! Making it for the umpteenth time today!
Kiran this recipe was a knock-out! So so good! Incredibly flavorful and you outlined it so well! I loved the velveting technique, and the resulting chicken was so so tender!