Chicken 65 is a tasty south Indian snack of crispy fried spicy chicken tossed in a delicious tangy garlic sauce and the flavours are incredible! It makes a wonderful starter and it is perfect for entertaining.
Chicken 65 is a hugely popular street food snack in South India which is found on the menus of most non-vegetarian South Indian restaurants.
The recipe varies from state to state where different combinations of spices and methods are used to prepare it.
This particular Chicken 65 recipe comes from Hyderabad where small bite sized pieces of spicy fried chicken are tossed in a yogurt and masala (Indian spiced) sauce.
The fried chicken retains its crispiness as it is only lightly coated in the rich and slightly sweet, astringent and tangy sauce creating layers of well rounded and balanced flavours.
The result is a mouthwatering dish that will truly wow your dinner guests!
Our Chicken 65 makes a perfect snack to serve with drinks for entertaining and guests can’t seem to get enough of it!
If you are making this for a party it can be made ahead, see notes below.
It also makes a wonderful starter for a home cooked Indian meal with our tandoori chicken and lamb tikka.
Find instructions below for an oil free version using an air fryer, and to make it ahead in three easy steps over a couple of days.
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These are the ingredients for chicken 65:
- chicken – it is typically made using off the bone chicken, either breast or thigh
- egg – one egg is all you need to lock in the chicken juices and help bind the ingredients together.
- cornflour/cornstarch and flour – for a crispy batter.
- ginger and garlic – chop and mince, or grind using a pestle and mortar to make into a paste for maximum flavour.
- lemon juice – to tenderize the chicken
- coconut milk (optional) – gives flavour and also tenderizes the chicken.
- spices – adjust the amount of red chilli for more or less heat, the quantity in this recipe makes it fairly spicy. Kashmiri red chillies are very mild with a fruity flavour. Curry leaves impart an astringent flavour while mustard seeds give a characteristic south Indian flavour.
- yogurt – adds tanginess, use Greek or strained yogurt for a rich sauce, regular yogurt will make the sauce more watery.
See the recipe card below for quantities.
How to make it
Cut the chicken into small pieces and coat well in the marinade. Cover and leave to rest for at least 1 hour (overnight will make it even tastier).
If your kitchen is cool (around 15-25℃ or 59-77℉), you can leave it to marinate on the counter for up to an hour. If your kitchen is warmer than this, keep it in the fridge then take it out 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.
See the food safety rules below.
Fry the chicken in hot oil, then set aside on kitchen paper to drain.
Tip: To check if the oil is hot enough for frying, dip a wooden spoon and if bubbles form around it, you can start frying.
For a healthier oil free option use an air fryer, see below for the instructions.
How to prevent burning or half cooking the chicken
Use a cooking thermometer (affiliate link) to ensure the chicken is not overcooked or under done, see our post on correct temperatures for cooking meat and poultry.
Lightly fry the spices in oil (this is the tempering), turn the heat down, stir in the yogurt then add the chicken. Mix well to coat the chicken in the sauce.
Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, serve immediately.
- Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking so it cooks for evenly, to avoid the outside cooking quickly while the inside remains raw .
- To check if the oil is hot enough for frying dip a wooden spoon and if bubbles form around it, you can start frying.
- Leave space between the pieces of chicken as they fry, see my post on why you shouldn’t overcrowd a pan.
Use an air fryer
For a healthier version, use an air fryer to fry the chicken, before mixing in the sauce.
- Preheat the air fryer to 200℃/400℉ for 3 minutes.
- Place the chicken in the basket spaced apart from one another without over lapping, as you would in frying fan.
- Set the timer to cook for 8 minutes. Remove the cooked chicken from the basket and repeat with the rest.
Substitutions to try if you have any of these dietary requirements.
- Egg-free – substitute the egg with 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt in the marinade.
- Gluten free – for gluten free chicken 65, replace the all purpose flour with the same quantity of rice flour.
- Dairy free – you can make this without the yogurt and it will still be delicious.
To make ahead
Chicken 65 can be prepared over a period of a couple of days in three separate stages:
Marinate – Prepare the chicken and leave to marinate in the fridge for an hour or overnight for a tastier result. Remove it 30 minutes before cooking to reach room temperature before frying to ensure it cooks evenly.
Fry – Deep fry/lightly fry or use an air fryer to cook the chicken. Allow it to com to room temperature, then keep it in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 2 days before using. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking in the sauce.
Sauce – Prepare the tempering then turn the heat down, add the yogurt and then the chicken. Stir the chicken well to ensure it is fully coated then garnish with lemon juice and black pepper and serve warm.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Reheat the chicken in a saucepan on low heat for around 5 minutes or till warmed.
The chicken can be frozen after frying but before mixing in the sauce. Keep it in a sealed container in the freeze for up to a month.
To reheat from frozen, spread the fried chicken out on a baking tray and bake at 200℃ fan/220℃/430℉ for 15-20 minutes, turning once.
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash your hands after touching raw meat
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more food safety guidelines at USDA.gov.
⭐️ Are you making this recipe for Chicken 65? I’d love to hear how it went, please do let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to give it a star rating! Thank you!
Hyderabadi Chicken 65
- 1 kilos boneless chicken 2 pounds, cut into small bite size pieces.
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (UK-plain flour)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons coconut milk (optional)
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 cloves garlic finely sliced
- 2 Kashmiri red chilli broken into small pieces
- 2 medium green chillies chopped
- 10 curry leaves
- ½ salt salt
- 140 grams Greek yogurt ½ cup
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 kilos boneless chicken, 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon grated garlic, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, ½ teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon all purpose flour, 3 tablespoons coconut milk, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon vegetable oilCombine all the ingredients for the marinade, add chicken and mix to coat the chicken evenly. Cover and leave the chicken to marinate for 1 hour.
To fry in a skillet
- vegetable oil for fryingHeat the oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet on high heat and fry the chicken , a few at a time. Place the cooked chicken on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
Using in an air fryer
- Preheat the air fryer to 200℃/400℉ for 3 minutes. Place the chicken in the basket spaced apart from one another without over lapping, as you would in frying fan. Set the timer to cook for 8 minutes, then remove the cooked chicken from the basket and repeat with the rest of the chicken.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 2 cloves garlic, 2 Kashmiri red chilli, 2 medium green chillies, 10 curry leaves, ½ salt salt, 140 grams Greek yogurtIn a large pan on medium-low heat, dry toast the mustard seeds for a minute, then add the oil, cumin seeds, Kashmiri chilli, green chillies, garlic and curry leaves. Lightly fry the spices for around 30 seconds then turn the heat down to low and stir in the yogurt for another 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken and stir gently for 1-2 minutes till all the chicken is well coated in the sauce then remove from the heat.
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon juiceAllow to cool slightly before tasting for seasoning and add more salt if required. Garnish with lemon juice and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Marinate the chicken – If the kitchen is cool (around 15-25℃ or 59-77℉), you can leave the chicken to marinate on the counter, otherwise keep in the fridge and remove 30 minutes to bring to room temperature before cooking.
- To check if the oil is hot enough for frying, dip a wooden spoon and if bubbles form around it, you can start frying.
- When frying the chicken, keep them spaced apart so they cook separately.
- Serve immediately.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- To reheat, place on a baking tray and bake at 200℃/400℉ for 5-10 minutes.
The ingredients here on EOTF are set out in grams & milliliters and in US cups & spoons.
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