Loku Amma’s Chilli Chicken


This recipe is a family favourite. Something my mother’s older sister (Loku Amma) makes for us whenever we visit. She’s an amazing cook just like my mum and serves this chicken with yellow rice, eggplant pickle and potato curry.

The day we cooked this we were cooking for guests. This means a thorough cleaning of the Morawakella Bungalow and unlocking the pantry cupboards to unearth the “fine china”. The set that comes out is beige with a  gold line and blue accents.  It’s as old as the hills and my Great-uncle Nanda recently told me about when he first saw the set.

Nanda Aththa, as we call him, came to Delwala (my maternal grandmother’s ancestral home) in search of a bride. He hailed from Kandy and this was a day’s journey, if not more. Having arrived in Delwala he was  served lunch as was traditional in the fine blue and beige china. He was served alcohol, slightly less traditional but he remarked that he felt entitled to it so he asked. Then he was served tea, at this point he was worried. The bride (my grandmother’s sister Susila) had not yet appeared.   I turned to Susi Aththamma, who was standing and listening, and asked her what took her so long?

She looked at me slyly over her cup of tea and smiled as she said  “I refused to come out”. When I asked why, her answer was simple. “I had some better offers at the time.”

Now the story ends happily and the two did eventually marry. Maybe she came out and found her prospects were better than expected. Whatever the case may be, these blue and beige dishes have served some important  events and bought together some important people.

This recipe, as you see it today was cooked on a wood fire stove. Don’t you find that amazing? No knob to control the heat, not exhaust, no light.



  • 2 kg of chicken (thighs and drumsticks work best I find)
  • 1 tbsp. crushed ginger
  • 1tbsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar


  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp. sugar ( or to taste)
  • Oil for deep frying


1. Marinate the chicken with the first set of ingredients and leave for no more than an hour (the vinegar will start to cook otherwise)


2. Place the marinated chicken in a pot with some water . When the water comes to the boil, turn the heat down and place the lid on it, cooking until the chicken is cooked through. Drain the chicken and reserve to cooking liquid, this is what will become the sauce.


Heat the oil in a large frying pan and deep fry the chicken pieces until golden browns and crispy. Drain well on kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil.



To the reserved cooking liquid add the remaining ingredients for the sauce. Leave the sauce on medium heat until the sauce becomes thick and syrupy.      


Serve hot with lots of fluffy white rice!



10 Comments Add yours

  1. Kathleen Luschwitz says:

    I love these stories you tell, Chath, and I will try the recipe…will it taste the same if you do Not fry the chicken???

    1. chathginige says:

      I think it could if you baked or grilled it, maybe with the skin on for extra crisp and moisture?

  2. Nataliya says:

    Awesome story to go with the recipe… I’m scouring your blog to find recipes suitable to try out my new spices! 😛

    1. chathginige says:

      Thanks Nat! Try the black pork curry!

      1. Nataliya says:

        Will do, hope it works as well with chicken. 😛

      2. chathginige says:

        Yes, the chicken curry recipe on here would work too.

  3. chathu says:


  4. Adrian says:

    Hello, great recipe. Is it white vinegar that you use. Roughly how much reserved liquid should I use. Thanks.

    1. chathginige says:

      Hi Adrian! White vinegar is perfect, in Sri Lanka my aunt would use coconut but white works just as well. I used whatever reserved liquid is leftover and reduce it to get the required consistency of the sauce

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