Monday, June 21, 2010

Why is it called 'Chicken 65'...?

'Chicken 65' is one of the most popular chicken dishes in India (at least in South India). Every 4 out of 10 side dishes ordered every time, every day, at every hotel in Tamil nadu will be a 'chicken 65'. this form of chicken has really positioned itself as one of the best, amongst all other dishes.

Ever wondered why it is called 'Chicken 65'? I am sure you would have... at least 90% of the people at sometime or other would've wondered about the reason why it is called 'Chicken 65'. The remaining 10% of the junta who just like to hog food and dont care why it is called by such a name, they are 'god's own people'. lets not disturb them. this post is not meant for them!

Now, I have to tell you about what really inspired me to write a post like this! As I am on diet now, I am avoiding most of my favourite food items (mainly junk food, deep fried, with heavy fat content, milk products, sugar rich, oil rich stuff etc). So i thought, I'll give myself visual treats, instead of the actual treat (sorry my tongue). Off late I started watching a lot of cooking videos online. like 'BBQ pit boys' etc. While cooking these recipes, the chefs actually give a lot of tips, information about the food that they're preparing. extra information on this 'chicken 65' really interested me.

There are many theories, myths about how this dish got its name. some are ridiculously funny. a few versions are:
  • the chicken is 65 days old (If the bird was given one wish, i think it would ask god that it should end up in a tandoori restaurant or a Chinese restaurant. That way it can live longer instead of dying in 2 months!)
  • they add 65 different ingredients in this dish (this theory is 'super bogus' - C65 is one of the simplest dishes you can make)
  • it was 1st made in the year 1965 (this is quiet possible. but again, what did they call it in 1965 - 'this year's chciken'?)
  • they cut the whole bird into 65 pieces to make this dish (I say impossible, as it will be like a minced meat recipe if you are going to cut a 3 pound bird into 65 pieces)
  • you have to marinate the chicken for 65 minutes (sounds pretty lame too. this is not a 'good enough reason' to name a dish)
but the most acceptable/believable/logical theory seems to be that "this dish originated in a military canteen in Chennai and as most of the soldiers, officers were from various parts of the country, to avoid language problems, they actually used a unique numbering system in the menu card/board. and this particular dish was the 65th item on that menu. so it became chicken 65..." (but i wonder what happened to 'Mutton 32', 'Egg 47', ' Idly 01' (idlies are most likely to be the 1st dish on any menu), 'sambar vada 69' etc. why dint those dishes survive?). but we should give the benefit of the doubt to the chicken, i also think this theory sounds much better compared to others.

Now i wanna share some of my own assumptions on how this dish got its name:
  • the waiter delivers the dish exactly 65 minutes after the order is placed. (1hr lead time!!! by now the dish would've been extinct :-))
  • the ideal cost for a dry chicken dish like that should be Rs. 65 (that means standardized price at all places, from a road side shop to a 5 star hotel - not possible)
  • consider a poultry farm, where all the chickens have badges, more like a identity number. there every 65th chicken is used for the preparation of this particular dish!!! (i should get a Nobel price for coming up with such a theory)

another thing which really inspired me to write this post is the following video. this is a must watch!!!

have fun!!!