Chicken Manchurian in bowls with rice

One for the soy sauce lovers out there, Chicken Manchurian is a unique Indochinese dish. A fusion of Indian and Chinese flavours. While you can get a dry version of this dish, this recipe is for the saucy version. It includes irresistibly tender chicken in beautifully rich and spiced curry gravy. Now you can enjoy this restaurant classic at home.

What is it?

Chicken Manchurian was an invention of Chinese restaurants in India. It was apparently created in Mumbai in the 1970s where a Chinese chef living in India was challenged to create a new recipe. He started by using a base of Indian staples, ginger, garlic and chilli, but then mixed them with soy sauce.

Many recipes deep fry the chicken which I avoid to keep this recipe lighter. Some of the Indian recipes out there also contain ingredients that are less common to a Western audience. Therefore, I have adapted it to make it more accessible to my readers in the UK/US. While adapted, it still retains the same great taste (and trust me, I taste-tested it against a restaurant takeaway portion!)

How do you get the chicken so tender?

This recipe uses a top meat hack called velveting which is used by many Asian restaurants. The chicken is tossed in a marinade that contains cornflour/cornstarch. The cornflour breaks down the fibres in the meat resulting in super tender pieces. This is perfect for fast-cook recipes such as stir-fries, where there is a risk of the meat toughening up when cooked fast at high temperatures.

Therefore, don’t skip the marinade!

Chicken Manchurian on a table with patterned fabric

What can I serve it with?

As Chicken Manchurian is more Chinese in taste than Indian (owing to the amount of soy sauce). As a rule of thumb, you can serve this with most things you would serve a saucy Chinese dish with. Some steamed white rice is the perfect accompaniment, but you could also use fried rice or brown rice. Some other ideas for side dishes are:

Can I make it in advance?

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating in the microwave or on the hob/stove. If the sauce becomes too thick after cooling, you can add a little water to thin it out (but it will also become thinner when reheating so don’t overdo it).

Chicken Manchurian in a bowl on a tray

Is it spicy?

This curry was made for Indian palates, so it is typically served hot. However, the beauty of making this at home is that you can control the amount of heat you add.

The curry uses green chilli so you can increase or decrease the amount specified based on your preferences. You could also use large chillies which are typically milder than smaller ones.

Ingredients

The ingredient list for this recipe may look quite long, but worry not, it’s really easy to make and most of the ingredients are spoonable sauces or powder.

For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card.

Chicken Manchurian ingredients

For the chicken + marinade

  • Ginger paste
  • Garlic, crushed or minced
  • Soy sauce (light/regular)
  • Cornflour/cornstarch
  • Chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

For the sauce

  • Cornflour
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Tomato puree (in some countries this is called tomato paste – it’s the thick stuff sold in little jars or tubes that you want)
  • White vinegar
  • Chilli sauce/sriracha

For the curry

  • Green chillies, finely chopped
  • Garlic, crushed or minced
  • Ginger paste
  • Spring onion/scallions, thinly sliced
  • Onion, diced

How to make it

For more detailed instructions with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe steps
  1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken. Set aside for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside until needed.
  3. Once the chicken has finished marinating, sauté it in a work or large frying pan/skillet. Once browned on all sides set aside on a plate.
  4. In the same pan sauté the chilli, garlic and ginger paste for around 30 seconds.
  5. Add the onion and spring onion to the pan and cook for around 5 minutes until softened. Pour in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for around 5 minutes until it has cooked through, and the sauce has thickened.

Looking for more great Chinese recipes? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

Magnetic Spice Rack – Set of 12

Organise your spices with this magnetic rack! – Stick to the fridge or the provided plate – Rotating design with sift/pour holes

Carbon Steel Wok

Lightweight & works on electric stoves, induction stoves, gas ranges and other heat sources.

Chopstick Helper – for Adults (2 pieces)

– Learn how to use chopsticks like a pro! – Suitable for right or left-handed use – 4 pairs of wood chopsticks included
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Chicken Manchurian in bowls with rice

Chicken Manchurian


  • Author: caroline
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

One for the soy sauce lovers! Chicken Manchurian is a unique fusion of Indian & Chinese flavours. It includes tender chicken in a rich & spiced curry.

The default recipe serves 4


Scale

Ingredients

For the marinated chicken:

  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (regular)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 500g skinless & boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

For the sauce:

  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce (see note 1)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree (see note 2)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce/sriracha

For the curry:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 small green chillis, finely chopped (see note 3)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 4 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced

Instructions

  1. Mix together the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, cornflour and salt and pepper for the chicken marinade in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Set aside for 20-30 minutes. (see note 4)
  2. Next, make the sauce by whisking the cornflour and soy sauce together. Stir in the tomato puree, vinegar and water. 
  3. In a wok or large frying pan/skillet heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes, tossing or stirring often to evenly cook. Once browned all over remove and place on a plate. 
  4. Add a splash more olive oil to the wok if needed and then add the chillis, garlic and ginger paste. Cook for around 30 seconds, stirring regularly, before adding the onion and spring onion. Cook for around 4-5 minutes until softened. 
  5. Pour in the sauce, increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and bubble gently for around 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened.
  6. Serve with steamed white rice.

Notes

  1. Make sure to use dark soy sauce for the curry sauce. It is much stronger and richer than regular soy sauce and will add a deep dark hue to the end result. If you use regular soy sauce the result will be very different! 
  2. In some countries, tomato puree is called tomato paste. It’s the thick stuff sold in little jars or tubes that you want. 
  3. Usually the smaller the chilli the hotter. This recipe is fairly spicy so adjust the amount of chilli or the size of the chillis depending on your preferences. 
  4. Don’t be tempted to skip the marinade. The cornflour helps to break down the fibres in the chicken making it irresistibly tender. 
  5. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating on the hob/stove or in the microwave. Add a little extra water to loosen the sauce if needed.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Hob / Stove
  • Cuisine: Indochinese

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 285
  • Fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Protein: 35g

Keywords: indochinese, indian, chinese, curry, takeaway, fakeaway, soy sauce, chicken, dinner, spicy

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