> Skip to content

Recipe  •  2 June 2022

 

Crispy chilli chicken | Swadilo piro tareko valeko masu

Try your hand at this traditional Nepalese dish from Santosh Shah.

One of our most popular street foods in Nepal is a direct influence from our Indo-Chinese borders: crispy chilli chicken. It is found everywhere, usually served with soup and chow mein. The success of this dish is all in the technique. First the chicken cubes are coated and deep-fried until golden and beautifully crispy. Then the sauce, prepared in an extremely hot wok, wraps the crispy chicken in a caramelized, charred, umami seal.

Serves 4

For the chicken

  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
  • ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder, or medium hot chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 400g (14oz) skinless, free-range chicken breasts, cut into 2.5-cm (1-in) cubes
  • 500ml (2 cups) vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 15g (½ oz) fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
  • 100g (1 cup) chopped onion
  • 150g (1⅓ cup) diced mixed (bell) peppers
  • ½ chicken stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 large pinch of timmur peppercorns, or Sichuan peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Luiche Masala (Chicken Garam Masala, see page 193)
  • 4 tablespoons finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

First, marinate the chicken. Place the cornflour, plain flour, chilli powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix until well blended. Add the chicken cubes and toss until well coated.

Heat the 500ml (2 cups) of oil in a large wok until it reaches 180°C (350°F). Deep-fry the coated chicken cubes, in batches, for approximately 7–8 minutes until golden and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper (paper towels) and set aside. Discard the oil.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in the wok over high heat. Stir-fry the ginger, garlic and chillies for 1 minute, until golden. Add the onion and (bell) peppers and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes until charred, stirring frequently. Add about 200ml (scant 1 cup) water and the ½ chicken stock cube and cook for about 3 minutes, until reduced by three quarters. Add the fried chicken pieces, soy sauce and vinegar, and stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the cornflour mix and cook for 1 minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the chicken and the mixture is well caramelized. Finish by adding the timmur, cumin and garam masala. Adjust the seasoning and add salt if needed, then add the coriander.

Serve the chicken hot and crispy, topped with the sliced spring onions. Offer a bowl of the hot and sour soup on the side, if you like.


Ayla Santosh Shah

A celebration of Nepali cuisine, suitable for beginners and experienced cooks alike

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all recipes
Recipe
Cauliflower cheese gnocchi bake

Super-smooth cauliflower and cheese sauce loaded with gorgeous little gnocchi bites.

Recipe
The ultimate chocolate chip cookie

A delicious treat that everyone will enjoy.

Recipe
Cheesy courgette pizza

A delicious and easy lunch recipe that kids will love.

Recipe
Cauliflower steak

Try your hand at James Strawbridge's vegetarian pub classic.

Recipe
Child-friendly beef stroganoff

A scrumptious winter favourite, perfect for the whole family.

Recipe
Cheesy stuffed mushrooms

A quick and easy favourite from the Healthy Keto Air Fryer Cookbook.

Recipe
Banana chocolate-chip oat cookies

Try your hand at this delicious vegan cookie recipe.

Recipe
Grilled branzino

A favourite fish recipe from Joshua Weissman.

Recipe
Cacio e pepe

Try your hand at this simple yet delicious dish from Joshua Weissman.

Recipe
Bolognese polenta bake

A family favourite from Rebecca Wilson.

Recipe
Chocolate cheesecake

Try your hand at this cheesecake with a healthy twist!

Recipe
Strawberry old Cuban

A modern twist on an old classic.

Looking for more recipes?

See all recipes