The Chicken Chilli Fry debuted on the menu of Paowalla, one of Chef Floyd Cardoz’s restaurants in New York. It has three distinct chillies as well as a healthy dose of kokum, which is an unusual ingredient in a chilli chicken. When the O Pedro menu was being developed, I made a trip to New York to cook the first iteration for Chef Floyd. In his kitchen, a cook was making the chilli fry and I really liked it. I told him it should be on the O Pedro menu and he readily agreed, with one caveat: I should do a vegetarian version as well.
- 500 gm boneless chicken leg, diced
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp kokum water (water in which dried kokum is soaked)
- 1 tsp crushed black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Oil to deep fry
For Stir Fry
- 500 gm marinated and fried chicken
- 3 tbsp sliced spring onions with bulbs
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves with stems
- 1.5 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp sliced garlic
- 1 tbsp chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp sliced dried Kashmiri chillies
- 1 tbsp sliced green chillies
- ½ tbsp sliced kokum
- ¼ cup sliced green Bhavnagri chillies/banana chillies
- Light soy sauce to taste (approx 1 tsp)
- Kokum water to taste
- Salt to taste
- Marinate the chicken with all the mentioned ingredients for 3 hours or overnight.
- Fry the chicken in oil heated to 180°C, until golden. Reserve for later.
- Heat a wok or heavy-bottomed saute pan on high heat till smoking. Keep all ingredients handy since this a quick stir fry.
- Once the wok is hot, add the oil, followed by garlic and ginger. Stir fry briskly, making sure not to caramelise the garlic. Follow with kokum and then Kashmiri red chillies, stirring constantly till the chillies bloom.
- Add in Bhavnagri chillies and toss for a minute on high heat.
- Drop in the green chillies and fried chicken, giving them a quick toss. Toss in spring onions and chopped cilantro, making sure to stir constantly over high heat.
- Finish with light soy, kokum water and salt.
- Stir fry for another 30 seconds and transfer into a serving bowl.
- Serve as an appetiser or in a poee as a sandwich or with just hot plain rice.