Chicken 65 - Spicy & Crispy - My Food Story

How to make Chicken 65

Chicken 65 is a classic dish that has cemented its place as a beloved staple in Indian cuisine, particularly renowned for its origins and popularity in South India. The dish consists of marinated pieces of chicken that are deep-fried until they attain a crispy exterior while remaining succulent inside. What sets Chicken 65 apart is its vibrant blend of spices and herbs, including red chili powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste, and curry leaves, which contribute to its distinctive fiery red color and explosive flavor.

Though its name leaves room for intrigue and speculation, several theories attempt to explain the origin of “Chicken 65.” One popular belief is that the dish was first introduced in 1965 at the famous Buhari Hotel restaurant in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Another theory suggests that “65” refers to the number of days old the chicken should be or the number of spices used in the recipe, although these interpretations are more folklore than fact.

Regardless of its nomenclature’s origin, Chicken 65 has won over palates far and wide, transcending regional boundaries to become a favorite across India and among Indian cuisine enthusiasts globally. Its versatility allows it to be served in various contexts: as a standalone appetizer, accompanied by onion slices and lemon wedges; as a savory addition to a buffet spread; or even wrapped in flatbreads with dips and salads for a more filling meal.

Chicken 65 Recipe

Chicken 65 - Spicy & Crispy - My Food Story

Chicken 65

Chicken 65 is a classic South Indian dish said to have originated in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. One popular belief is that this dish is made with meat from 65-day-old chickens. Hence—Chicken 65. This spicy deep- fried chicken can be an entrée or a starter. The dish gets its red color from chile powder.
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 2855 kcal


  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 large pot


  • 4 garlic cloves minced, divided
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 teaspoons red chile powder divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
  • Pinch ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • Vegetable or corn oil for frying
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 green chiles sliced
  • 1 curry leaf sprig
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Red onion slices for serving
  • Lemon wedges for serving


  • In a small bowl, stir together half the garlic, the ginger, 1 teaspoon of chile powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon of pepper, the turmeric, and salt. Add the chicken and mix well to coat it in the spices. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
  • Drain any liquid that has accumulated while the chicken marinated. Sprinkle the corn flour over the chicken and mix well to coat the chicken.
  • Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.
  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat about 1 cup of vegetable oil, or enough to cover the chicken pieces, depending on the size of your pot. The oil is hot enough when a little corn flour sprinkled in sizzles instantly.
  • Working in batches so the chicken is not crowded, carefully lower the chicken pieces into the hot oil. Fry for 7 to 8 minutes per batch, until browned, turning occasionally. Transfer the chicken to the paper towel–lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • Add the remaining garlic, the cumin seeds, green chiles, and curry leaves. Cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant and the leaves become crisp.
  • Stir in the yogurt, sugar, and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon of pepper and 2 teaspoons of chile powder, mixing well.
  • Add the chicken and stir again. Continue stirring until the water from the yogurt evaporates and the chicken is mostly dry. Serve with red onion slices and lemon wedges for squeezing.


The yogurt in this recipe is a necessity, so do not to leave it out. Yogurt gives Chicken 65 its characteristic flavor and texture.
Keyword chicken breasts

Cooking Tips about Chicken 65

Kerala-style chicken 65 - Paatti's Kitchen

  • Marinate for Flavor: For Chicken 65, the marination process is crucial. A blend of spices such as red chili powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste, and curry leaves, combined with lemon juice and yogurt, should be used to coat the chicken pieces. Marinating for a few hours, or ideally overnight, allows the flavors to penetrate deeply, resulting in a more flavorful end product.
  • Crispy Texture: Achieving the perfect crispy texture is essential for Chicken 65. After marinating, coat the chicken pieces in cornflour or rice flour before frying. This coating helps create a crispy outer layer when deep-fried in hot oil. Ensure the oil is sufficiently heated so that when the chicken is added, it sizzles, indicating it’s the right temperature for frying.
  • Control the Spice Level: Chicken 65 is traditionally spicy, but you can adjust the heat level to your preference. The amount of red chili powder and green chilies can be modified without significantly affecting the overall taste. Remember, it’s better to start with less and add more if needed.
  • Deep Fry in Batches: To avoid dropping the oil’s temperature, which can lead to soggy chicken, fry the pieces in small batches. This practice ensures each piece is evenly fried and maintains the desired crispiness.
  • Use Curry Leaves: Don’t skip on curry leaves; they are integral to Chicken 65, providing a unique aroma and flavor that sets this dish apart from other fried chicken recipes. Fry the curry leaves in the oil before adding the chicken to infuse the flavor into the oil.
  • Serving Hot: Chicken 65 is best served hot, directly after frying for maximum enjoyment of its crispy texture and spicy flavors. It can be garnished with onion slices, lemon wedges, and additional fried curry leaves for an extra kick of flavor.
  • Accompaniments: While Chicken 65 can stand alone as a tasty appetizer, it can also be served with sides like onion salad, raita (yogurt-based sauce), or mint chutney to balance its heat.
  • Experiment with Boneless and Bone-in Chicken: You can prepare Chicken 65 using either boneless or bone-in chicken. Boneless chicken is easier to eat as an appetizer, while bone-in chicken may provide more flavor and a different texture experience.

Serving suggestions about Chicken 65

Chicken 65 recipe- How to make it (amazing restaurant-style flavor)

  • As a Standalone Appetizer: Traditionally, Chicken 65 is served hot as an appetizer or snack with slices of onion, lemon wedges, and garnished with fresh curry leaves. The acidity from the lemon enhances the flavors while the onion provides a refreshing crispness.
  • With Rice: For a more filling option, Chicken 65 can be paired with steamed rice, biryani rice, or coconut rice. The spiciness of the chicken complements these rice dishes, offering a well-rounded meal.
  • Wrapped in Flatbreads: Slightly unconventional but delicious, Chicken 65 can be placed inside a roti, naan, or paratha, along with some sliced onions, and drizzled with yogurt or mint chutney. This makes for a flavorful wrap or roll, perfect for on-the-go eating.
  • As Part of a Buffet Spread: In more extensive dining scenarios like buffets or family-style meals, Chicken 65 serves as a vibrant and tasty addition to the spread. It pairs well with other dishes, providing a crunchy, spicy kick amidst various flavors.
  • With A Side Salad: To balance its heat and deep-fried nature, serve Chicken 65 alongside a refreshing salad. A simple cucumber, carrot, and lettuce salad with a light dressing can create a soothing contrast to the spice-laden dish.
  • With Dips and Chutneys: Another way to enjoy Chicken 65 is by dipping it into various chutneys and sauces. Mint chutney, yogurt-based raita, or even a spicy ketchup can add an extra layer of flavor to each bite.
  • In A Biryani: An inventive way to serve Chicken 65 is by layering it in a biryani. Cook the Chicken 65 separately and then layer it between the rice before doing a final steam (dum process). This infuses the biryani with the distinct flavors of the Chicken 65, making for a unique and flavorful dish.

Top 5 FAQs about Chicken 65

Air Fryer Chicken 65 - Motions and Emotions

  • What is Chicken 65? Chicken 65 is a popular South Indian dish known for its deep-fried spicy chicken chunks. Originating from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, it features marinated chicken pieces coated with a blend of spices, including red chili powder, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves, lemon juice, and yogurt, then fried to achieve a crispy exterior and juicy interior.
  • Why is it called Chicken 65? The origin of the name “Chicken 65” is shrouded in mystery and subject to various theories. One prevalent theory suggests that it was introduced in 1965 at the Buhari Hotel restaurant in Chennai. Another speculation is that the name refers to the number of days the chicken should be aged or the number of spices used in the recipe, although these interpretations remain part of folklore.
  • How can I make my Chicken 65 less spicy? Although Chicken 65 is known for its heat, you can adjust the spice level to your preference by reducing the amount of red chili powder and green chilies in the recipe. Start with a smaller quantity of these ingredients and gradually add more if you prefer a hotter flavor, ensuring it suits your taste without being overwhelming.
  • Can Chicken 65 be prepared in advance? Yes, Chicken 65 can be prepared in advance by marinating the chicken and storing it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. However, for the best texture and flavor, it’s recommended to fry the chicken just before serving to maintain its crispiness and warmth.
  • What are some popular ways to serve Chicken 65? Chicken 65 can be enjoyed in several ways: as a standalone appetizer accompanied by onion slices and lemon wedges, paired with rice dishes like biryani or steamed rice, wrapped in flatbreads like roti or naan along with some onion slices and yogurt or mint chutney, or as part of a buffet spread alongside other dishes. Its versatility makes it a favorite for various occasions and meal types.

Chicken 65 stands as a vibrant symbol of Indian culinary creativity, showcasing the rich tapestry of flavors and cooking techniques that the subcontinent is renowned for. Originating from the southern part of India, this dish has traversed geographical boundaries to captivate taste buds across the globe with its fiery spice blend, crispy texture, and succulent chicken pieces. Its intriguing nomenclature and disputed history only add to the allure, making Chicken 65 a topic of culinary conversation and exploration.


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