Chicken 65 is a mouthwatering Indian chicken appetizer that packs a punch with its spicy and crispy goodness. This restaurant-style Chicken 65 is made by marinating chicken in yogurt, spices, and curry leaves, then deep-frying it to make the best chicken starter!

Sizzling hot Chicken 65 on a plate

Who doesn’t love a crispy chicken dish? My daughter, who typically does not like spicy food, gobbled this Chicken 65 down. It is definitely one of my favorite chicken appetizers, right alongside Chili Chicken and Chicken Pakoda.

This dish is perfect to serve to guests or at a party. It would also be great served inside a Kathi roll along with sliced red onions and green chutney.

If you have not tried this chicken appetizer, you must make it right away!

What is Chicken 65? Why is it called Chicken 65?

Chicken 65 is a fried chicken appetizer known for its bold flavors, fiery spice level, crispy texture, and wonderful deep red color, making it an absolute favorite among chicken lovers. It is one of the most popular chicken starters from Southern India – mainly from the Andhra region.

It is made by first marinating the chicken in yogurt, spices, and curry leaves. This marinated is then mixed with flour and fried. After frying, it is stir-fried with green chili, aromatics, and red chili powder to make the perfect spicy and crispy appetizer.

The name “Chicken 65” has a fascinating history, but its origin remains a mystery. Some believe that it was the 65th item on the menu of a popular Indian restaurant, hence the name “Chicken 65.” Others suggest it was created in 1965, leading to the same moniker.

Other stories suggest that it is made with 65 ingredients or that it was marinated for 65 days. Regardless of its origin, one thing is sure – Chicken 65 is a true culinary delight!

Why is Chicken 65 Red?

The vibrant red color of Chicken 65 comes from the use of red chili powder. This spice adds a rich red hue which gives Chicken 65 its characteristic appearance.

Some restaurants might also add red food coloring to make the dish look red. However, I like to use Kashmiri red chili powder, which gives the dish the perfect red color without making it overly spicy.

Ingredients for Chicken 65:

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: Chicken 65 is traditionally made with boneless skinless chicken thighs, which remain tender and juicy after frying. You can also use chicken breast if you prefer a leaner option, but thighs are recommended for the best flavor and texture.
  • Thick Yogurt: The yogurt serves as the marinade’s base and helps tenderize the chicken while infusing it with a tangy flavor.
  • Curry Leaves: Curry leaves are a quintessential ingredient in this South Indian recipe, adding a unique aroma and taste. 
  • Ginger Garlic Paste: A blend of fresh ginger and garlic adds a zesty and aromatic kick to the dish.
  • Cumin Powder: Adds warm and earthy notes to the marinade, complementing the other spices used in Chicken 65.
  • Kashmiri Chili Powder: It is known for its vibrant red color and mild heat. It gives Chicken 65 its characteristic red hue without overwhelming spiciness.
  • Turmeric: A pinch of turmeric is added for its yellow color and subtle earthy flavor.
  • Garam MasalaIt is a blend of aromatic spices that adds depth and complexity, contributing to the overall richness of Chicken 65.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: These essential seasonings balance the flavors and enhance the taste of the chicken.
  • Sugar: A touch of sugar helps to balance the dish’s spiciness, providing a hint of sweetness.
  • Lemon Juice or Vinegar: Lemon juice or vinegar adds a tangy twist to the marinade, enhancing the overall flavor profile of Chicken 65.
  •  Cornstarch: This is used to coat the marinated chicken before frying, giving it a crispy and crunchy texture.
  • Rice Flour: Rice flour adds to the crispy coating, ensuring the chicken remains perfectly crisp after frying.
  • Oil: This is used for deep frying the chicken until it turns bright red and achieves a delightful crispiness.
  • Green Chili Peppers: Green chilies, slit in half lengthwise, are used for a burst of spiciness, and Thai green chilies are preferred for an extra kick.

How to Make Chicken 65?

There are three main steps to making this flavorful dry chicken dish.

Marinade the Chicken

  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the chicken marinade, including thick yogurt, chopped curry leaves, ginger garlic paste, cumin powder, Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric, garam masala powder, salt, black pepper, sugar, and lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Then, add the chicken, cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces, and add them to the marinade, ensuring they are well coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight if possible) to allow the flavors to infuse.

Fry the Chicken

  • Heat enough oil in a pan or kadai on a medium flame for deep frying.
  • Add rice flour and cornstarch to the marinated chicken for 5-10 minutes before frying. Mix well until the chicken is coated with a dry mixture. This mixture is important to get the iconic crispy texture of this starter.
  • Carefully drop the chicken pieces one by one into the hot oil. Fry until they turn bright red in color and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fried chicken and place it on a tissue paper-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Tempering Chicken

  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a separate wok or pan.
  • Add ginger, garlic, and green chilies to the hot oil. Saute for about 30 seconds, then add curry leaves and saute for another minute.
  • Stir in the Kashmiri red chili powder and quickly add the fried chicken.

Stir fry for a minute, ensuring the chicken is well coated with the spices.

Remove from heat and serve hot as a delightful appetizer.

Chicken 65 in pan with curry leaves

Air Fryer Chicken 65

For a healthier version, you can also make Chicken 65 in an air fryer by following these steps:

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Place the coated chicken pieces into the air fryer basket in a single layer. Spray a generous amount of oil on the chicken.
  3. Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping the chicken cubes halfway through until golden brown and crispy.
A close-up of tender Chicken 65 garnished with curry leaves.

Pro Tips

  • For the best results, use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which remain tender and juicy after frying.
  • Adjust the spice level to your preference. If you prefer a milder taste, reduce the amount of Kashmiri red chili powder and green chilies.
  • Ensure the oil is adequately heated before frying the chicken to achieve a crispier texture.
  • Don’t shy away from using extra curry leaves. They add lots of aroma and flavor to the chicken.
  • For added flavor, garnish with lemon wedges and sliced red onions before serving.

Variations

Experiment with spices: Chicken 65 is versatile; you can experiment with different spices and ingredients to suit your taste. Some popular variations include adding curry powder, crushed fennel seeds, or even a touch of tamarind pulp for a tangy twist.

Make it with paneer: You can easily swap out using paneer for a vegetarian Paneer 65 appetizer. You can also use mushrooms or tofu.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken 65 is best served hot and makes an excellent appetizer for parties or gatherings or as a side dish with your main meal. I like to serve mint cilantro chutney with it.

You can also enjoy it with naan, roti, or steamed rice for a satisfying and flavorful meal.

How to Store Chicken 65?

If you have any leftovers, store the cooled Chicken 65 in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

You can use an oven or air fryer to reheat to maintain its crispy texture.

Common Questions

Why does my Chicken 65 masala get separated when frying?

If your chicken 65 masala separates from the chicken while frying, it could be due to excess moisture in the marinade or inadequate cornstarch and rice flour coating. To avoid this, pat dry the chicken before marinating and ensure the chicken is well coated with the dry mixture before frying.

What is the difference between Chicken Chilli and Chicken 65?

While both chicken chili and Chicken 65 are delicious chicken dishes, they have some differences. Chicken chili is typically prepared with gravy or sauce, while Chicken 65 is a dry dish with a crispy texture. Additionally, Chicken 65 is spicier due to fiery spices like red chili powder and green chilies, whereas chicken chili may have a milder flavor profile.

More Indian Chicken Dishes You’ll Love

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4.75 from 8 votes

Restaurant-Style Chicken 65

This restaurant-style crispy and spicy Chicken 65 is made by marinating chicken in yogurt, spices, and curry leaves, then deep-frying it to make the best chicken starter!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 Pounds Skinless chicken thighs

For Marinade

Add before frying 

For deep frying 

  • Oil, as needed

Final Stir fry 

  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 3-4 Green Chili Pepper, slit in half lengthwise, I use Thai green chili 
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger, finely chopped
  • 10-12 Curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder

Instructions 

Marinate and fry chicken:

  • Combine all the ingredients for chicken marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if possible.
  • In a pan or kadai, heat enough oil on a medium flame for deep frying. 
  • To the chicken marinade, add rice flour and corn flour 5-10 minutes before frying. Mix well to combine. It should be a dry chicken mix. 
  • Once the oil is heated to 350F. Then, carefully drop the chicken pieces one by one into the hot oil. Toss the chicken pieces after 1-2 minutes and keep frying until bright red in color and crispy. Remove from oil using a slotted spoon and place on a tissue paper lined plate.

Air Fryer Option:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 375°F.
  • Place the coated paneer cubes into the air fryer basket, making sure to spread them out in a single layer. Add a generous spray of oil. 
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes, flipping the chicken cubes halfway through until they are golden brown and crispy. 

Make the stir fry:

  • In a wok or pan, heat oil for the stir fry on high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and green chili pepper. Saute for 30 seconds. Then add curry leaves and saute for a minute. 
  • Add the Kashmiri red chili powder and give it a stir. 
  • Quickly add the chicken and stir fry for a minute mixing the chicken well with the other ingredients. 
  • Remove from heat and serve hot as an appetizer. Garnish with sliced red onions and lemon wedges. 

Video

Notes

  • Adjust the spice level to your preference. If you prefer a milder taste, reduce the amount of Kashmiri red chili powder and green chilies.
  • Ensure the oil is adequately heated before frying the chicken to achieve a crispier texture.
  • Don’t shy away from using extra curry leaves. They add lots of aroma and flavor to the chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 213kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 23gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 597mgPotassium: 356mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 572IUVitamin C: 71mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Low Carb, Nut-free
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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4 Comments

  1. I’m from Hyderabad in Andhra. My parents. and I lived in the UK and then Germany these past 60 years. My Mum made this chicken and I do too. Not too often and I don’t do a lot of frying.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Meeta
    You are a mind reader, thanks very much. I was looking for some chicken appetiser, and you sent me today this chicken 65 recipe, what I will make when my children visits me.
    Even I didn’t make yet, but already salivating. I am Hungarian, living Australia, cooking different countries dishes, your delicious, fantastic fragrant dishes on a weekly plan.
    Thank you ver much you sharing your experience.
    XO for you and your family
    Rozsa

    1. Hi Rozsa – Thank you for including my recipes in your weekly meals. It makes me feel happy that the recipes are enjoyed all over the world 🙂