Spicy Dry-Fried Chicken (Chicken Varuval)

Spicy Dry-Fried Chicken (Chicken Varuval)
I’ve been meaning to try this one out for ages. Chicken Varuval is a Southern Indian specialty chicken dish in Malaysia but originates from the region of Chettinad.  This spicy dry-fried chicken is relatively easy to prepare but promises a hearty dish which goes well with rice. Be warned though, the abundance of chilies will result in a sneezing fit in the kitchen!

Spicy Dry-Fried Chicken (Chicken Varuval)

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Spicy Dry-Fried Chicken (Chicken Varuval)

Spicy Dry-Fried Chicken (Chicken Varuval)

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces / chicken drumsticks
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 5 dried chilies, deseeded and soaked in warm water
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt to taste


  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon meat curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine the marinade and rub it into the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
  2. Over medium high heat, pan-fry the chicken pieces until they turn a light golden brown
  3. Drain on paper towels and set aside
  4. Over medium heat, saute the cinnamon stick, star anise, fennel seeds, dried chilies and onions for 3-4 minutes
  5. Add ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant
  6. Return chicken to pan and stir to combine. Add water to deglaze the pan if needed
  7. Season with salt and sugar and stir to mix
  8. Add chili powder and coat thoroughly
  9. Add curry leaves and black pepper and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes
  10. Dish and serve hot



  • Reply
    June 12, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    This looks amazing! I love that your recipes stay true to the authentic roots of the cuisine. It kills me the number of times I have seem a pretty photo of Thai Chicken made using Chinese Five Spice Powder and mustard… no no!!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      June 13, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      One of the things I will always try to do is go authentic! Unless it’s fusion of course. Or I’m learning a new cuisine and don’t know any better 🙂

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