When I did the research for my ultimate guide to making Chicken 65 at home, I reviewed almost 50 different recipes. I obviously haven’t made them all (or even most of them), but some stood out to me for a variety of reasons.
Read on to see which were my favourites, and why.
What is Chicken 65?
Chicken 65 is India’s version of Southern fried chicken, Korean fried chicken or Japan’s karaage chicken.
Pieces of chicken are marinated in a mixture of Indian flavours and spices, then deep fried until crispy and golden. And some versions then cook it in a spicy sauce as well.
You can learn more about the history of the dish on my ultimate guide to Chicken 65.
Simple “Dry” Chicken 65
In it’s simplest form, Chicken 65 is deep fried spicy chicken pieces, served with lemon wedges and nothing else – no sauce or flavoured oil.
From the dry Chicken 65 recipes, two appealed to me a little more than the others:
- Nags’ deep fried Chicken 65 on Edible Garden was the only dry recipe that included some yogurt to give a tart and crisp finish, allowing her to go easy on the flour. Her masala is also a little more complex than most, without needing to add garam masala.
- Vahchef’s air fried Chicken 65 is assertively flavoured with garlic and ginger, as well as a touch of vinegar. He’s also subtle with flour, ensuring a crisp finish without creating a batter.
Chicken 65 with a tadka
If you haven’t come across the term before, tadka is fat infused with spices and aromatics.
Typically it’s created by sauteing the spices and other ingredients in ghee (clarified butter) or oil. The result is a deliciously flavoured liquid that can be used to enhance a dish, or garnish it at the end. It’s a fantastic way to add a flavour punch to a soup, a stew, or even fried chicken.
With Chicken 65, the most common flavours are fresh green chili peppers, curry leaves and garlic. And once the tadka is done, the cooked crispy chicken is tossed in the hot flavoured oil. Delicious!
Of the recipes for Chicken 65 with a tadka, my favourites were:
- Dan’s fried Chicken 65 with tadka on The Curry Guy has a nicely spiced marinade for the chicken. His tadka also has additional spice compared with the others. Plus I love his inclusion of green onions (scallions) and battens of ginger.
- Anu’s air fried version on Simmer to Slimmer starts with a yogurt-based marinade that’s noticeably spicier than the others. She also uses chaat masala, a tangy spice mix, to add a note of sourness to the tadka.
Chicken 65 with gravy
An Indian gravy is different from the western variety. Rather than a sauce made from meat drippings or stock thickened with flour, Indian gravy is a part of the dish (like the rich sauce of a butter chicken). And there are several different types as well.
Recipes with gravy were more common, making it harder to choose my favourites. There were a couple that stood out though:
- Kirsten’s Chicken 65 recipe on SBS Food has a thick, creamy gravy that’s generously spiced as well.
- Mariam’s version on Recipe 52 takes a different approach, using ketchup as the liquid ingredient in the gravy for a tomato tang.
Healthier Chicken 65 recipes
While deep frying the chicken is part of what makes it so deliciously crispy, it’s not the healthiest method of cooking. So if you’re looking for a recommendation for a less fatty approach, I’d recommend one of the following:
- For a dry version, I mentioned Vahchef’s air-fried recipe earlier. If you don’t have an air fryer, Sangee’s oven-baked Chicken 65 on Simply Sangee takes the extra step of broiling the chicken briefly at the end to ensure a crispy finish.
- If you’re looking to make it with gravy, Rose’s baked version on Nish Kitchen has you broil for crispiness as well. Her creamy gravy includes ketchup as well for a rich sauce. Just keep an eye on your chicken (for doneness) because Rose bakes hers a lot longer than the other authors.
Like I mentioned earlier, it wasn’t easy to choose these from all the great recipes I found. So if you’d like more to choose from, you can find all the recipes I reviewed on my Chicken 65 Pinterest board.
Feel free to jump on over there and check out more recipes for all of the different versions. Plus I’ve pinned recipes for some tasty Chicken 65 variations as well.