Chicken 65 with Saffron Rice

After consulting my friend Wikipedia, I learned a few things about this famous dish from the Andhra region.  While the name “Chicken 65” is universally used to refer to the dish, there are many different stories for how the name came about. It is generally acknowledged that no one knows which (if any) of these anecdotal theories are correct

  • The 65 in the Chicken 65 represents the year it was introduced by the famous restaurant in Chennai called “BUHARI HOTEL”. Hence the name “Chicken 65”. They also serve Chicken 78, Chicken 82, Chicken 90 which are all introduced in those years.
  • The number 65 is variously said to be the number of days taken to prepare the marinade or the year of the dish’s creation. (However, 65 days of marination would mean that the chicken would start to decompose or if it was frozen then it would lose its taste and freshness). One account claims that the dish emerged as a simple meal solution for Indian soldiers in 1965. Other accounts claim that an enterprising hotelier targeted macho diners with a 65-chilli recipe and named the dish accordingly.
  • It is also told that the name Chicken 65 is evolved from the age of the chicken used to prepare this dish. The original recipe called for Chicken 65 was prepared using chickens which were 65 days or roughly over 2 months old. Since this is a bar-snack, young and tender fried chicken goes as a good starter with wine. (Skeptics of this origin argue that typically a young tender chicken is just 25-35 days old and not 65 days. At 65 days the chicken would be old and fat.)
  • The name Chicken 65 relates to the number of pieces the whole chicken is cut up into before cooking. (However, it has been suggested humorously that cutting a whole chicken into 65 pieces would make it a Minced Chicken and not chicken 65.)
  • There is one interesting story about how this particular dish got its name, Chicken 65. In year 1965, India fought a war with Pakistan and handed over significant defeat to its enemy forces. As a matter of pride, how Indian army fried enemy army like this dish, which is deep fried with lot of spices.
  • Because of India’s large number of chicken preparations, each preparation was given a number instead of an independent name. Chicken 65 came about as part of this numbering system.
  • One version also maintains that this particular preparation figured at serial no. 65 of a fast food restaurant’s menu card. Hence the name, Chicken 65.

 

Recipe: Chicken 65

Ingredients

  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 12 green chilies
  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • 3 tsp lime juice
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix corn flour, all purpose flour, ginger paste, garlic paste, chili powder, egg, allspice and salt into a thick batter. Add some water if needed.
  2. Add chicken pieces to the batter and marinate for about one hour.
  3. Deep fry the marinated chicken pieces until they turn golden brown.
  4. In a small saucepan heat 4 teaspoons of oil and add fried chicken pieces, slit chillies, and yogurt.
  5. Fry for about 4 to 5 minutes and remove it from the heat.
  6. Toss with lime juice, mix well and garnish it with onions if desired.