Caramel Chicken

I have always been fascinated by the idea of Caramel Chicken. I came across both English and Tamil recipes but I found them to be impractical. I have combined and modified the recipes to make it easier to prepare and reduce wastage. I decided to use country tomatoes instead of the hybrid variety for their acidic flavour. The caramel chicken goes very well with Dinner Rolls, fried rices, and pulavs.

Caramel Chicken - Kalas Kalai

Caramel Chicken

Nutritive Value

Chicken contributes 26g of protein per 100g. The calories come from the sugar, oil, and ghee used. Therefore it is a high protein, high energy dish.


  • 1kg Chicken, skin removed
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Onions, sliced
  • 2-3 Country Tomatoes, slurried
  • 3 T Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 2 T Vegetable Oil
  • 2 T Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 2 T Sugar

Grind Together

  • ½ C Small Onion/Shallots/Sambar Vengayam
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Clove Powder
  • 4 Cardamom, husk removed
  • 1 tsp Pepper Powder
  • 1 T Chilli Powder

For the Marinade

  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Vinegar


  1. Cut the chicken into fairly large pieces. Marinate in the salt and vinegar for 30 minutes.
  2. Melt the sugar in a large non-stick skillet till it is dark brown. Add the ghee and stir for 10 seconds and then add the chicken and fry till the chicken is evenly coated with the caramel. Remove and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in the same non-stick skillet. Add the onion and fry till golden.
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste and 1 tablespoon of water. Fry till a fragrant aroma arises.
  5. Add the ground masala and fry till the oil separates.
  6. Now add the slurried tomatoes and the salt, and cook till it is reduced to half the volume.
  7. Add the chicken pieces and stir. Add half a cup of water and bring to boil.
  8. Cover the skillet and cook till the gravy is thick.


  1. I use sunflower oil supplemented with rice bran oil for its neutral flavour and cholesterol-lowering properties. If you do not wish to use ghee, use the equivalent quantity of vegetable oil. I prefer to use a little ghee because it goes very well with the flavour of caramel.
  2. I use Kashmiri chilli powder for its glorious colour and mild flavour.
  3. I use homemade ginger-garlic paste by grinding equal quantities of garlic and ginger in a mixie. I remove the paste, without adding any water, and store in an airtight container in a refrigerator. It will keep for a week without losing flavour.
  4. Use a non-stick skillet to prevent the caramelised sugar sticking to the pan, which will lead to a lot of wastage.
  5. When you caramelise the sugar, take care not to reach the crackling stage. It will become very difficult to coat the chicken pieces with the caramel.
  6. If country tomato is not available, you can use the hybrid variety but add ½ teaspoon of lime juice to compensate for the sweetness in the hybrid tomato.

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