Crispy Chilli Chicken
Crispy Chilli Chicken
5 from 1 vote
Experience the perfect blend of spice, sweetness, and crispiness with this Crispy Chilli Chicken recipe. This dish offers a harmonious fusion of flavours and textures, ideal for spicing up your dinner routine or impressing guests.
Crispy Chilli Chicken

Crispy Chilli Chicken has emerged as a beloved dish in various cuisines around the world, and its roots can be traced back to Asian kitchens. Traditionally, it’s been a staple in Chinese culinary history, and over time, it has acquired a universal appeal. 

When it comes to the difficulty level of making this dish, it’s fairly straightforward. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to bring this dish to life; all it takes is a knack for balancing the right flavours and a bit of attention to detail. Even a beginner can navigate this recipe without too much hassle. 

Now, let’s talk about different variations. Although the recipe I’ve shared is for a classic Crispy Chilli Chicken, there are several ways to customise it. 

If you’re not a fan of chicken, consider swapping it out for tofu for a vegetarian option. Alternatively, you can use prawns or other forms of seafood. And if you’re looking to dial down the spice level, simply adjust the quantity of chilli sauce according to your preference. 

One of the reasons this dish is so universally loved is its versatility. It’s an excellent choice for a casual dinner but equally shines as the centrepiece for special occasions. Be it a weeknight meal or a festive feast, Crispy Chilli Chicken never disappoints. 

Moreover, this dish can be served with a variety of accompaniments. White rice, noodles, or even a simple vegetable stir-fry can elevate the dining experience. The crispy texture of the chicken coupled with the tangy, spicy sauce is sure to make your taste buds dance. 

The best part is that the ingredients are fairly common and easily accessible. You’ll most likely find everything you need at your local supermarket. So, no need for a special trip to a niche food store! 

Lastly, if you’re concerned about the frying part, there are healthier methods available. 

Air frying or baking the chicken can be just as satisfying, albeit slightly less traditional. Either way, the Crispy Chilli Chicken will be a delight for your palate and a feast for your eyes. So why wait? Get cooking and let this dish wow everyone at the dining table. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

When it comes to whipping up a sensational Crispy Chilli Chicken, choosing the right ingredients is half the battle.  

Each ingredient plays a pivotal role in crafting the dish’s distinctive taste and texture. Let’s dive into why these specific ingredients make this recipe a standout, and what alternatives can also get the job done. 

Boneless Chicken Thighs: The use of boneless chicken thighs lends the dish its juicy, tender core. Thigh meat is more flavourful compared to breast meat and retains moisture well, making it ideal for frying.  

If you’re not a fan of dark meat, boneless chicken breasts can also be used, but keep in mind they can dry out more quickly. 

Cornflour: This is crucial for achieving that crave-worthy crispiness. Cornflour adheres well to the chicken and forms a light, crispy crust when fried. If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative, arrowroot powder is a good option. 

Spices: These are the foundational flavours of the dish. The salt brings out the natural flavours, and the pepper adds a hint of spice. Garlic and onion powder provide a depth that complements the meat. If you prefer, freshly minced garlic and onion can be used for a stronger flavour profile. 

Vegetable Oil for Frying: A neutral oil like vegetable oil is perfect because it doesn’t impose any additional flavours onto the chicken. Canola or sunflower oil can also be used as alternatives. 

Garlic and Ginger: These add a zesty kick to the chilli sauce. Fresh is best, but in a pinch, you could use garlic and ginger paste. 

Chilli Sauce: The primary driver of the dish’s heat and zing. You can go for different types of chilli sauce depending on your heat tolerance. Sriracha or even a milder sweet chilli sauce could work. 

Tomato Ketchup: Adds a tangy sweetness that balances the spiciness of the chilli sauce. In absence of ketchup, tomato puree along with a dash of sugar can serve the purpose. 

Soy Sauce: This gives a salty, umami depth to the chilli sauce. If you’re avoiding soy, coconut aminos is a sweeter, less salty alternative. 

Rice Vinegar: Adds a subtle tang that lifts the sauce. Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar can be used if rice vinegar isn’t available. 

Brown Sugar: The sugar adds sweetness, complementing the spicy and salty elements of the sauce. White sugar or even honey could be used as a substitute. 

Cornflour-water mixture: This acts as a thickening agent for the sauce, giving it the right consistency. If cornflour is not available, arrowroot powder mixed with water serves as a good alternative. 

Choosing the right ingredients is like selecting the right instruments for an orchestra—each component must play its part to create a harmonious result.  

With this breakdown, you’re equipped to make the best Crispy Chilli Chicken that not only satisfies the taste buds but also allows room for creativity and personal touch. 

How to Get the Perfect Crispy Chicken Coating 

Getting the perfect crispy coating for your chicken can make or break your Crispy Chilli Chicken dish. The secret lies in the type of flour you use and the frying technique employed.  

Cornflour is my go-to for this recipe as it provides a light, airy texture that allows the chicken to truly shine. The choice of cornflour over all-purpose flour or breadcrumbs isn’t accidental. It adheres well to the chicken and ensures a crunchy bite every time. 

Deep frying is the optimal method for this dish. It’s important to maintain the oil at the right temperature range, between 170-190°C. 

Too low and you risk the chicken soaking up too much oil; too high and the outside will burn before the inside cooks. A kitchen thermometer can be a great help for maintaining this balance. 

The thickness of the coating also matters. You don’t want it to overwhelm the chicken. The coating is there to enhance, not overshadow, the juicy, tender meat inside. Make sure to coat the chicken evenly but lightly. Overloading the chicken with too much cornflour can result in a gummy texture. 

Another critical point is seasoning. Cornflour itself is rather plain, so adding spices like salt, garlic powder, and onion powder is essential. These spices give the coating a flavour boost, complementing the juicy, tender chicken within. 

Last but not least, don’t underestimate the importance of draining the excess oil after frying.  

Placing the fried chicken on a paper towel helps in absorbing any extra oil, ensuring that your chicken remains crispy and not greasy. By considering these tips, you’re bound to get a coating that elevates the Crispy Chilli Chicken to a gastronomic delight. 

Mastering the Art of Homemade Chilli Sauce 

The chilli sauce is the soul of the Crispy Chilli Chicken dish. It’s the component that binds everything together, elevating the crispy chicken to something sublime.  

When making this sauce, the blend of spiciness, sweetness, and tanginess should be well-balanced. Too much of any of these elements and you can quickly overshadow the others. 

Firstly, the base of the sauce, the chilli sauce itself, needs careful consideration. If you can handle heat, something robust like a hot pepper sauce can make your dish truly memorable. But if you prefer a milder version, sweet chilli sauce works like a charm. 

Secondly, the aromatics like garlic and ginger should be fresh whenever possible. The zesty kick they offer is unbeatable and does a splendid job of complementing the heat of the chilli sauce. Thirty seconds on the pan, and you unleash a burst of fragrance that sets the tone for the sauce. 

Thirdly, balance is key. The soy sauce adds umami and saltiness, the rice vinegar provides tang, and the brown sugar adds a subtle sweetness that counteracts the heat. The tomato ketchup also serves a dual role, adding both sweetness and tanginess, tying everything together. 

Thickening the sauce to your liking is also crucial. The cornflour-water mixture is a convenient and effective thickening agent. It helps in achieving that glossy, rich texture that clings lovingly to each piece of chicken. But it’s important to add this mixture gradually while continuously stirring to avoid a lumpy sauce. 

Making the perfect chilli sauce can take a few tries, but each attempt gets you closer to mastering this delicious concoction. The beauty of this sauce lies in its versatility; you can adjust the quantities and ingredients to suit your palate.  

But remember, the end goal is a sauce that complements and accentuates, rather than overwhelms, the crispy chicken. 

The Importance of Choosing the Right Chicken Cut 

When it comes to Crispy Chilli Chicken, not all chicken cuts are created equal. The cut of chicken you choose can dramatically influence the final product. In this recipe, I’ve opted for boneless chicken thighs, and there’s a reason for this particular choice.  

Chicken thighs are often more tender and flavourful compared to chicken breasts, which can sometimes turn out dry if not cooked properly. 

Chicken thighs have a higher fat content, which means they’re less likely to dry out during cooking.  

This makes them ideal for frying as they remain juicy and tender on the inside, while the outside gets a deliciously crispy layer. The fat also adds a depth of flavour to the chicken that can’t be easily replicated with leaner cuts. 

However, if you’re conscious about fat intake, chicken breasts can be a viable alternative. Just remember to adjust your cooking time as breasts cook quicker than thighs. They might lack the fatty flavour, but they can still be quite satisfying when cooked well. 

Another alternative could be chicken tenders. These are even quicker to cook than breasts or thighs and provide a good compromise between flavour and leanness. They’re also smaller, so they make for perfect bite-sized pieces without needing to cut them down. 

Chicken wings could also serve as an alternative for a more casual, finger-food version of the dish. The numerous nooks and crannies in the wing pieces can hold onto the sauce exceptionally well, providing a burst of flavour in every bite. 

Achieving the Perfect Sauce Consistency 

The consistency of your chilli sauce can make a world of difference in your Crispy Chilli Chicken. Too watery, and it won’t cling to the chicken; too thick, and it can become a gooey mess.  

The key is to find that golden middle ground where the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon but still runny enough to pour. 

Cornflour mixed with water serves as the thickening agent in this recipe. It’s added towards the end of the cooking process to ensure that you have full control over the thickness of the sauce. Stirring it in gradually is essential, as adding too much too quickly can result in an undesirable texture. 

The cooking time also affects the sauce’s consistency. As it simmers, water evaporates, leading to a thicker sauce. Therefore, it’s essential to simmer the sauce only until it reaches the desired consistency. Otherwise, you run the risk of it becoming too thick, even before adding the cornflour mixture. 

There’s a little trick you can do to test the sauce’s readiness. Take a spoon and dip it into the sauce. If it coats the back of the spoon and holds a line when you run your finger through it, it’s ready for the chicken to be added. 

Remember, the sauce will continue to thicken even after you’ve removed it from heat due to the residual heat in the pan. So, it’s often a good idea to aim for a slightly runnier consistency than your final desired outcome. 

Elevating Flavours with Fresh and Dried Spices 

When it comes to my Crispy Chilli Chicken, the spices are non-negotiable. The incorporation of garlic and onion powder not only provides an extra layer of flavour but also works synergistically with the cornflour to create that much-desired crispy texture.  

These powdered spices are easily distributed throughout the cornflour coating, ensuring each bite is packed full of flavour. 

Garlic powder, in particular, adds a concentrated burst of garlic essence without the moisture. Fresh garlic is fantastic but in a recipe where crispiness is paramount, it could potentially make the coating soggy. The dried version is a wonderful workaround that eliminates this risk. 

Onion powder, too, is a potent flavour enhancer. The naturally sweet and sharp flavour of onion becomes more concentrated when dried and ground into a powder. Like garlic powder, onion powder ensures that every piece of chicken is uniformly flavoured. 

If you’re not a fan of garlic or onion, there are other spices that can fill their shoes.  

Cumin or coriander powder could give the dish a more earthy tone. For a hint of warmth, you might add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg. Just remember to adjust the quantities to your liking; these spices can be quite strong. 

Experimenting with spices can also lead to some delightful discoveries. You might find that a pinch of smoked paprika or a dab of mustard powder can bring your Crispy Chilli Chicken to a new flavour dimension you hadn’t considered before. 

Why Cooking Technique Matters: Stir-Frying and Deep-Frying 

So, we’ve got our boneless chicken thighs, a selection of sauces and spices, but what about the cooking techniques? In this recipe for Crispy Chilli Chicken, I employ two primary methods: deep-frying and stir-frying. 

Deep-frying is the first stage, aimed at making sure the chicken turns out as crispy as possible. The trick is maintaining a steady oil temperature for consistent results.  

Too hot, and the outer layer will burn while leaving the inside undercooked. Too cold, and you’ll end up with oily, soggy chicken. A kitchen thermometer is your best friend in this regard. 

Once the chicken is perfectly fried, the stir-frying takes the stage. The stir-frying technique works exceptionally well for the sauce preparation. With quick stirring in a hot pan, the garlic and ginger’s aromatic compounds get released, forming the flavour base for the chilli sauce. 

Moreover, stir-frying the sauces and spices at a high temperature allows for a beautiful melding of flavours in a short time. This makes the dish not only tasty but also quick to prepare. It’s the very essence of what a stir-fry should be: fast, fresh, and full of flavour. 

A slight deviation could be shallow frying the chicken instead of deep-frying. This would be a more health-conscious option but might compromise on the crispiness that deep-frying can achieve. 

The Secret of Cornflour in Achieving Crispy Chicken 

Cornflour plays an absolutely vital role in achieving that signature crunch in my Crispy Chilli Chicken. When it comes to deep-frying, the objective is to create a seal around the chicken, keeping it moist on the inside while forming a crispy exterior. 

Cornflour has a unique structure that makes it ideal for this purpose. Unlike wheat flour, it’s gluten-free and has a finer texture, which means it creates a lighter and crispier coating. 

Interestingly, cornflour is incredibly absorbent. This is essential for ensuring the chicken pieces remain juicy during frying. You want the juices to be sealed within the coating, rather than evaporating into the oil, which can lead to dry, unappealing meat. 

Another benefit is how cornflour interacts with spices. I always add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to the cornflour mixture. The fine grains of cornflour act as a vehicle for these spices, ensuring that the flavour gets deeply embedded in the chicken pieces. 

For those who are health-conscious or have dietary restrictions, there are alternatives to cornflour.  

Rice flour can offer a similar crispiness but with a lighter texture, while chickpea flour (besan) could add a nuttier flavour to your Crispy Chilli Chicken. Each of these alternatives has its own unique characteristics, and it’s worth experimenting to find what suits your palate. 

The Versatility of Chilli Sauce in Asian Cuisine 

In this Crispy Chilli Chicken recipe, the chilli sauce plays a starring role in bringing heat, sweetness, and tanginess. It’s like a trinity of flavours, perfectly balancing each other out. I use chilli sauce, not just for the heat but also for its complexity.  

A good chilli sauce has layers of flavour, usually encompassing sweet, spicy, and sometimes even sour notes. This complexity elevates the entire dish, providing a multidimensional tasting experience. 

The choice of chilli sauce can vary depending on personal preferences. Sriracha offers a more garlic-forward taste, while Sambal Oelek provides a straightforward, spicy kick. There’s also the option of Korean Gochujang, which has a unique, fermented sweetness. 

Additionally, the sugar level in the chilli sauce will affect the overall sweetness of your dish. If you find commercial sauces too sweet, there are plenty of recipes for homemade versions that allow you to control the sugar level to your liking. 

For those who like it extra spicy, why not add a couple of finely chopped fresh chillies into the sauce? This can make the dish even more thrilling for the spice enthusiasts among us. However, if you’re cooking for a group with mixed spice tolerances, it might be wise to serve additional chopped chillies on the side. 

The Alchemy of Balanced Flavours in Crispy Chilli Chicken 

Achieving balanced flavours is like conducting a symphony, where each element contributes to a harmonious final product. This philosophy rings true in the Crispy Chilli Chicken recipe, especially when discussing the sauce ingredients.  

A combination of chilli sauce, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar contributes to a rich tapestry of flavours that make the dish irresistible. 

Tomato ketchup may seem like an unusual choice, but it works wonders. Beyond the sweetness and tanginess, it also provides a rich, umami quality that elevates the sauce. It’s more than just a condiment; it’s a subtle but effective flavour enhancer. 

Soy sauce offers the saltiness and umami that are essential in Asian cuisine. It brings depth to the sauce, enhancing the other ingredients without overwhelming them. Light or dark soy sauce can be used, depending on your preference for saltiness or richness. 

Rice vinegar brings an essential acidic note, cutting through the richness of the other ingredients. The acidity also serves to balance the sweetness of the brown sugar and tomato ketchup, making for a more nuanced sauce. 

Brown sugar not only sweetens the sauce but also contributes to its body. Unlike white sugar, brown sugar has a molasses-like depth that adds a caramel undertone to the sauce. The sweetness complements the spiciness of the chilli, offering a satisfying contrast. 

The Impact of Cooking Time and Temperature 

The role of cooking time and temperature cannot be understated in the Crispy Chilli Chicken recipe.  

For the chicken, frying at a medium-high heat ensures that the exterior becomes crisp while the interior remains juicy. The key is to monitor the oil temperature, aiming for a range between 170-190°C for optimal results. A kitchen thermometer can be immensely helpful in this regard. 

For the chicken to fry evenly, it’s advisable to cook in batches. Overcrowding the pan can cause the temperature to drop, leading to soggy, oil-soaked chicken. Thus, maintaining a consistent heat level is crucial for achieving that much-coveted crispiness. 

When it comes to the sauce, the cooking time and temperature also require attention. A simmering sauce allows the ingredients to meld together, intensifying the flavours. However, simmer for too long, and you risk reducing the sauce to an overly thick consistency. 

Adding the cornflour-water mixture to the sauce also demands precise timing. Adding it too early can result in a gloopy texture, while adding it too late might not give it enough time to thicken the sauce adequately.  

A medium heat is ideal for this step, as it allows for better control over the sauce’s final consistency. 

Monitoring and adjusting the heat are essential skills in cooking, and this recipe serves as a practical exercise in mastering them. By paying attention to time and temperature, you elevate the dish from good to great. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

if you fell in love with my crispy chilli chicken, let me introduce you to its delicious siblings. Trust me, they’re going to be regulars at your appetizer table, just like they are at mine. You’re not going to want to miss out on these culinary beauties. 

First off, let me take you on a lip-smacking ride with honey garlic chicken. It’s like the sweeter, more aromatic cousin to our beloved crispy chilli chicken. The honey and garlic glaze will make your taste buds sing, I swear. I mean, who wouldn’t love crispy chicken coated in a sticky, sweet, and garlicky sauce? 

Now, imagine crispy chicken taken to a whole new level with chicken loaded fries. Yep, you heard me. Crunchy fries smothered in gooey cheese and topped with our all-time fave, crispy chicken. The mix of textures is beyond mind-blowing. It’s comfort food at its best, guys! 

Let’s not forget garlic chicken wings, an obvious yet divine choice for wing lovers. Like the original crispy chilli chicken, these wings are packed full of flavour but doused in a garlic-rich sauce that is downright addictive. 

Oh, but we’re not done yet! How about some chicken spring rolls? Imagine the crispy chilli chicken all wrapped up in a delicate spring roll wrapper, with an extra crunch that echoes in every bite. It’s another level of crispy goodness that you need to experience. 

Last but not least, you’ve got to try the spicy chicken wings. It’s like my crispy chilli chicken decided to throw a little party with some extra heat. The wings are just as crispy but pack a punch that will tingle your tongue in the best way possible. 

These are just a few of the countless ways you can explore the world of crispy chicken appetizers. Dive in, indulge, and as always, let me know what you think in the comments section. 

Crispy Chilli Chicken

Crispy Chilli Chicken

by Nabeela Kauser
Experience the perfect blend of spice, sweetness, and crispiness with this Crispy Chilli Chicken recipe. This dish offers a harmonious fusion of flavours and textures, ideal for spicing up your dinner routine or impressing guests. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetiser
Cuisine Chinese, Indian, Indo-Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 274 kcal

Ingredients

  • 500 g Chicken Thighs Cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp Cornflour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder

For the Chilli Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 2 tsp Ginger Minced
  • 3 tbsp Chilli Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cornflour Mixed with 2 tbsp water

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the cornflour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Toss the chicken pieces in the cornflour mixture until they are evenly coated.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Carefully add the coated chicken pieces to the hot oil and fry until they are golden brown and crispy. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oil and drain on a paper towel.
  • In another pan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat.
  • Add minced garlic and ginger to the pan and stir-fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Stir in the chilli sauce, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes until it thickens slightly.
  • Mix the cornflour-water mixture into the sauce to thicken it further. Stir well until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
  • Add the crispy chicken pieces to the sauce and toss them until they are coated evenly.
  • Serve your Crispy Chilli Chicken hot, garnished with some chopped spring onions or sesame seeds if desired.

Notes

Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcalCarbohydrates: 0.3gProtein: 20gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 96mgPotassium: 256mgVitamin A: 98IUVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chicken, Food, Kids Snacks, Recipe, Snack
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

DON'T WANT TO MISS OUT?

SUBSCRIBE NOW!

Subscribe now to receive my latest recipes directly in your inbox. Stay up-to-date and never miss out!

Add your first comment to this post

Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

More Recipes

Chicken Goujons

Chicken Goujons

Chicken Keema Paratha

Chicken Keema Paratha

Chicken Bhuna

Chicken Bhuna

Breaded Chicken Tenders

Breaded Chicken Tenders

Yoghurt Marinated Chicken

Yoghurt Marinated Chicken

Malabar Chicken Curry

Malabar Chicken Curry