Healthy Chilli Chicken

 Who does not like the deep fried chicken chili fry or chilli chicken served in Indian restaurants with their long list of Indo-Chinese dishes? They look so delicious – glistening, crispy and sometimes way too red to look natural. As far as the taste goes, some do a great job of creating a lip-smacking dish, while others miss the mark.

The version I present may not be the deep fried but does a justice to the taste. Somehow, I just lack the patience for baking although it may make the chicken crispy. This pan-fried chicken chili (two ways) is something you should try and let me know which version you like and if it still hits the mark. One is the basic version and the other the Indo chinese version.

Enjoy either way and you will be happy to have a meal ready in under 20 minutes. Of course, don’t forget to complement with the veggies / brown rice / bed of salad greens / a hearty soup.

Healthy Chilli Chicken (basic)

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Healthy Chilli Chicken (Indo-Chinese)

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Why is it HEALTHY?

  • Firstly, you already know it isn’t deep fried – so you can eat more protein (chicken) guilt-free rather than consume more calories from it’s deep fried version. The high heat can cause loss of vitamins sensitive to heat. The high heat while deep frying causes the oil to burn producing toxic byproducts. And, what do we do with the leftover oil? It gets oxidized further for long as it sits. If you do not want to skimp on oil, then just use more oil for pan-frying 🙂 that way you don’t get the disadvantages of deep frying.
  • Chicken is a good source of iron & B-complex vitamins besides providing a high amount of good quality protein.
  •  And, of course, the veggies contribute to fiber, vitamin C and phytochemicals with antioxidant properties – you need those on a daily basis, right?

Let’s check out the two versions and let me know in the comments section which one you may like the most…

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Healthy Chilli Chicken – Basic version (ready in ~20 minutes)

Per serving: 250 Cals | 25 g protein | 12 g total fat | 3 g fiber 

Serves 2 

0.5 lb (250 g) chicken thighs, skin & visible fat removed & cut into 1″ pieces

1″ ginger piece

2 large garlic cloves

2 kashmiri red chilies + 1 or 2 resham patti red chilies (or 1 tsp red chili flakes; more or less per your heat threshold)

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow/ green bell pepper, sliced

1 tbsp oil

salt to taste

 

Clean the chicken thighs, remove visible fat as much as possible and cut into 1″ pieces

Blitz the red chilies, ginger and garlic in your Magic Bullet to make a coarse mixture.  (I just love this little appliance in the kitchen – everything is ground so easily and above all it’s biggest advantage I think is it’s hassle-free cleaning. I feel it’s a must- have for every kitchen. See my detailed review of Magic Bullet in the SHOP.

If you don’t want to use a grinder, just grate ginger and garlic and use red chili flakes.

In a bowl, marinate the chicken pieces with the ground mixture, salt and 1 tbsp oil.

Cut the vegetables in the meanwhile. 

Heat a pan and throw in the chicken pieces and let them cook on medium heat. Cover with lid to prevent the pieces from getting dry. Turn them around after 7 minutes or so and cook without lid.

Once cooked on both sides, crank up the heat and let them crisp on at least one side. Then transfer to a plate.

Use the same pan and throw in the veggies. Saute on high heat and let them absorb some of the flavor of the chicken. Sprinkle salt and serve with the chicken over a bed of greens or brown rice.

VARIATIONS: Saute cooked brown rice with the veggies to make chili chicken fried rice! 🙂

You can use any veggies you like for both recipes – green beans, broccoli, carrot etc.

 

Healthy Chilli Chicken – Indo Chinese version (ready in ~ 20 minutes)

Per serving: 260 Cals | 26 g protein | 12 g total fat | 3 g fiber 

Serves 2 

0.5 lb (250 g) chicken thighs, skin & visible fat removed & cut into 1″ pieces

1″ ginger piece, grated

2 large garlic cloves, grated

1 tsp red chili flakes/ hot red chili powder (tone it down for your taste preference)

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow/ green bell pepper, sliced

2 tsp ketchup

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tbsp rice flour

1 tbsp oil

salt to taste

 

Clean the chicken thighs, remove visible fat as much as possible and cut into 1″ pieces

In a bowl, marinate the chicken pieces with the ginger, garlic, chili flakes and salt. 

Cut the vegetables in the meantime. Make a paste of soy sauce, ketchup & rice flour and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a pan and throw in the chicken pieces and let them cook on medium heat. Cover with a lid  to prevent the pieces from getting dry. Turn them around after 7 minutes or so, and then cook without lid.

Once cooked on both sides, add the paste and let it coat the chicken pieces coat. Allow the paste to thicken and turn brown. Note that the pieces may not be fully coated with the paste in an intact fashion that you see with deep fried chicken. However, you will realize that even the pasty bits taste real good! 🙂 Now, transfer the chicken to a plate. 

Use the same pan and toss in the veggies. Saute on high heat for 1-2 minutes, and let them absorb some of the flavor of the chicken. Sprinkle salt and serve with the chicken over a bed of greens or brown rice. You can complement this with a hearty Carrot Soup or Miso Soup or a good cup of green tea to cleanse your palate.

VARIATIONS: You can use any veggies you like for both recipes – green beans, broccoli, carrot etc.

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