Deep-fried masala chicken with coriander and basil dip

Serve Cyrus Todiwalas spicy chicken with drinks, allowing guests to dip the tasty morsels into the accompanying gingery sauce
By Cyrus Todiwala
Deep-fried masala chicken with coriander and basil dip
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus marinating time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the spiced coating

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1-1½ tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 heaped tsp ground chilli
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 heaped tsp chaat masala, (see Cooks Tips)
  • 1½ tsp salt

For the chicken

  • 250 g chicken breast fillets
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground chillies
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • oil, for deep-frying

For the coriander and basil dip

  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander, with stalks
  • 15-20 leaves Thai sweet basil
  • 15-20 leaves purple basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 cm piece ginger, scraped and coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 bird's eye chillies, or to taste
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1-2 tsp sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 100 ml vegetable oil, optional (see Cooks Tips)
  • 2-3 tbsp Greek yogurt

Tips and Suggestions

When making the coriander and basil dip, you can blend 100ml oil into the mixture when puréeing, for a better shelf life. The mixture will keep in a covered jar in the fridge for several days.

Chaat masala is an Indian spice mix that tastes both sweet and sour. It typically consists of amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, black salt, coriander, dried ginger, black pepper and asafoetida. If chaat masala is unavailable, add 1 level teaspoon ground cumin to the spice mix and increase the salt a little.

Try swapping the chicken for prawns, squid rings, shredded beef fillet or vegetables.

Method

1. For the spiced coating: put all the ingredients in a food processor and process to a fine, smooth paste. Transfer to a small tray and spread the paste out to dry. (Once fully dried, this can be kept in a jar in the fridge for several weeks.)

2. For the chicken: slice the chicken fillet horizontally then cut it into very thin strips. Put the chicken in a non-reactive bowl.

3. Combine the turmeric, ground chilli, garlic, green chilli and egg in a small bowl, then pour the mixture over the chicken. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge.

4. For the coriander and basil dip: blend all of the ingredients, except the yogurt, in a blender or food processor until smooth and fine. Add salt to taste, then stir in the yogurt and set aside.

5. Heat the oil in a wok, deep-fryer or a deep frying pan. Put some of the spiced coating in a bowl and, one by one, coat the chicken pieces in it.

6. Working in small batches, drop the coated chicken into the hot oil and, as soon as it is well coloured, remove and drain on kitchen paper.

7. Serve the fried chicken with the coriander and basil dip.

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