Masterchef Australia - season 13 - is making quite a buzz among Indians here and abroad. One of the reasons is New Delhi-born contestant Depinder Chhibber. Since the very beginning of the show, we have seen Depinder impressing the judges by preparing classic Indian dishes - from tandoori chicken to Punjabi chhole and more. Recently, she won hearts once again by giving a unique spin to the classic chicken 65. In one of the episodes, airing on Disney+ Hotstar Premium, there was a unique challenge for the contestants. Presented with the challenge to transform the way we think about instant noodles, Depinder decided to cook her favourite Chicken 65 with an instant noodle spin. The result, as all the three judges agreed, was a showstopper and instant classic.
A popular starter from south India, Chicken 65 is a deep-fried spicy delicacy usually made with rice flour and corn flour. But Depinder replaced the flour with noodles. But how?
Instead of frying the chicken pieces in bread crumbs, Depinder blitzed the instant noodles and crushed them with her bare hands to use it as a coat for the chicken. When she was ready with the dish and brought to it the judges, their first reaction was a big “Oh!”, possibly because they could not find any trace of noodles in the dish.
Astonished, Australian chef Andy Allen, one of the judges on the show, asked Depinder what she'd cooked? Told it was the Indian dish Chicken 65, he wanted to know more about the dish, said to have originated in Chennai.
“Deep fried, boneless chicken tossed in a tomato-tamarind, really heavy-duty sour, sweet sauce,” Chhibber said, explaining how she used the noodle mixture with the seasoning to coat the chicken before frying it.
“That is right up there with the best fried chicken that I could ever imagine eating,” said TV presenter and Scottish celebrity chef Jock Zonfrillo.
“Depinder, you crushed those noodles and you crushed this challenge,” said the third judge, Melissa Leong.
And if you like to try the Kerala-style Chicken 65, then here is the recipe. Pair the fried chicken dish with mint chutney to create a firestorm of flavour inside your mouth.