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  • Writer's pictureAlissa Love

Dry Chili Chicken

Updated: May 12, 2021

My mother-in-law is an excellent cook and one of my favourite dishes from her is Dry Chili Chicken. She swears it's super easy to make so I decided to put her recipe to the test. And by recipe, I mean a couple of vague steps via Whatsapp - so here's the recipe that I have deciphered :)

I have to say I was pretty impressed with the end product! It tasted 90% like hers, and was surprisingly super easy to make. And required so little ingredients, I didn't have to make a grocery run and only used my kitchen staples.


Chopped chicken with bone-in (half or whole chicken)

3 tomatoes (blend and set aside)

2 medium red onions (blend and set aside)

2 tablespoon chilli powder

1 Tom Yum stock cube

3 tablespoon toasted coconut (optional)

For the sauce (blended)

1 large red onion

4 garlic cloves

2 lemongrass ends

1 cup dried chilli

1 chilli padi



1. Prepare your blended ingredients.

  • Blend 3 whole tomatoes and set aside.

  • Blend 2 medium red onions and set aside.

  • For the sauce, blend 1 large red onion, 4 garlic cloves, 2 lemongrass ends, 1 cup dried chilli, 1 chilli padi

2. Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes.

  • Marinate chopped chicken pieces with 2 tablespoon chilli powder, 2 tablespoon of the blended sauce and salt to taste.

3. In a large pan, dry fry the blended sauce with 1 crushed tom yum paste. Fry for 5-10 mins until the chilli turns a dark red.

4. Add blended tomato and fry for 5 mins. Then add the blended onion paste and fry for another 5 mins.

5. Add chicken pieces. Cook covered for about 20 mins, or depending on the size of your chicken pieces. Stir occasionally to ensure it doesn't get burnt at the bottom. Add salt to taste.

  • Do take note that no water is required, and the sauce is very watery when you first add the chicken. The chicken will also release water during the cooking process.

  • The sauce will simmer down as you cook and it will be more dry.

6. While chicken is cooking, toast some desiccated coconut. This step is optional but it gives a very delicious and deep flavour so I highly recommend it!

7. Once chicken is cooked, add 3 tablespoon of the toasted coconut and gently stir in. The sauce should be thick and dry like in the picture. You can add more if you like!

8. Enjoy with a steaming bowl of white rice!



  1. Do not add water to the dish. The chicken will release water when cooking and the entire intention is for the chicken to cook down and the sauce to thicken and dry up.

  2. Gently stir occasionally so the chicken and sauce doesn't get burnt on the bottom of the pan.

  3. The tom yum stock cube is optional but it really does give an added flavour profile to the dish. Surprisingly it doesn't taste like tom yum at all, but rather of the kaffir lime and lemongrass aromatics that you typically find in Thai food. I used a generic Maggi stock cube for this.

  4. The recipe calls for a dash of coconut milk as well as this dish is meant to be a variation of "Chicken Rendang". You can add this if you like but I prefer it without.

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