chicken chili dry Pakistani indian desi Chinese recipe

Recipe Post – Chicken Chili Dry

One of the many things I miss about living in Pakistani is Desi Chinese. I know all countries have their own brand of Chinese food which combines local flavors with traditionally Asian ingredients, and Pakistan is no different.

(Desi is pronounced dey-see, btw. Not Desi, like Lucy and Desi.)

There are so many restaurants back home which cater to desi-Chinese loving individuals like me, and one of their more popular dishes is Chicken Chili Dry, which is basically flour-coated, “breaded” chicken tossed in a spicy gravy with vegetables.

I’ve been looking for a good Chicken Chili Dry recipe for ages now, and I have finally found an easy and delicious one via Huma In The Kitchen on YouTube.



This recipe reminds me of the one they serve at Gourmet Restaurant in Pakistan, which is arguably my favorite variation of the dish.

I found Huma’s way a little confusing to follow at first, so I wrote out the recipe for my own benefit. Even my husband, who normally is not a fan of desi Chinese, said he really liked this dish.

Today I’d like to share it with you, so that you can enjoy it, too. ☺️

Chicken Chili Dry

Serves 2


To marinate the chicken:

  • 500 g boneless chicken, cubed
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp each ginger paste and garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp oil and more for frying

For the gravy

  • Sesame oil, 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 – 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 4 green chillies, slit and de-seeded (the larger, the better)
  • 1 green and 1 red bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 small onion, cubed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon or 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Water (about 1/2 a cup, and as needed)


Mix the cubed chicken with the marination ingredients. Make sure they coat the chicken evenly and somewhat lightly. Try to avoid a lumpy coating. Leave the chicken to marinate for .5 – 1 hour.

Heat up oil in a wok or a sauce pan. When it is bubbling, deep fry the pieces of chicken until they are golden brown. Remove fried chicken from the hot oil and set aside.

In a pan, add the sesame oil + butter and sauté the garlic and ginger, on medium heat, with the slit green chillies for 20 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add in the vinegar, tomato paste, soya sauce, and chicken stock. Add black pepper as well, and 1/4 cup water. Mix the ingredients until they are a smooth, saucy consistency.

Add in the onions and bell pepper, and fry for 1-2 minutes. The gravy will thicken in this time. Add another 1/4 cup of water and cook for 1 minute. Check the salt and pepper and add more as needed. ( I added a pinch of salt.)

Add in the fried chicken, and stir it around in the sauce to coat it. Cook on low for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has coated the chicken and is the consistency you desire. (You can add more water if you want more gravy.)

Remove from the stove and serve hot, with garlic rice.

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