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Chinese curry sauce is great for smothering over a plate of chips or combining with veg, beef or chicken for a main meal. This fragrant, flavourful sauce is the perfect way to add some warmth to your meal. Made with a blend of aromatics, including ginger, garlic, and curry powder, it’s a simple, yet comforting dish. And best of all, it’s easy to make at home.
What is it?
Chinese curry is popular in takeaways and chippies across the UK. It is made with a variety of ingredients, including onions, garlic, ginger, and fragrant curry powder. The curry can be served with a protein such as chicken or beef as a full curry. Or with some chunky veg for a meat-free option. Alternatively, it’s great as a dipping sauce for fries or drizzled over fat chips.
Lighter than Indian curry, it’s creamy and fairly mild. The perfect dish to warm you up on a cold winter’s day, or when you need something comforting and easy after a hectic day. Serve it with some basmati rice and naan bread and you have a delicious meal that’s like a hug in a bowl.
This dish is not a fancy curry with loads of different spices and cooking steps. It’s simple, quick and easy. Although I can’t be certain, I believe this curry was conceived in fast-food restaurants in the UK and you’d be hard-pressed to find a curry that resembles this in China itself. It’s still delicious though!
If you like this you could also try this fusion Indo-Chinese curry, Chicken Manchurian. Perfect for any soy sauce fans!
Is Chinese curry sauce healthy?
While comforting, and a little quick and dirty, this dish is actually fairly sin-free. Served with chicken, it contains less than 300 calories per portion and less than 10g of fat. Add a few handfuls of healthy vegetables to the dish and you’ve got yourself a healthy, rounded meal.
If you make just the sauce and skip the chicken then it’s only 160 calories per portion and has just 8g of fat. Naturally, what you serve it with will make all the difference, a big fat portion of chips will undo the healthiness of your plate pretty quickly!
What can I serve it with?
If you want to make this into a full curry then you can add chicken or beef to the recipe. Chicken breasts are a great lean option, while chicken thighs will give a more tender result. The recipe below outlines how to include chicken in the sauce, you can incorporate beef in the same manner.
If you want to throw in some veggies, then try sliced carrots, peppers (capsicum), green beans or even mushrooms.
Naturally, the sauce is amazing with chips. You could mix things up a little and try it with celeriac chips for a lighter option, or even drizzle it over some steamed veg like pak choi for a healthy side dish.
What type of curry powder should I use?
When it comes to buying curry powder, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the different options out there. Curry powder is simply a blend of different spices and aromatics, so it’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all item. You’ll likely see different varieties of heat in the powders on the shelves (from mild to hot). And you may also come across specific blends such as madras curry powder or tikka powder.
The great news is, that you really can use any type of powder you prefer for this recipe. I typically grab a generic ‘curry powder’ variety which is mild. But you can use a hotter version if you prefer a bit of a kick. Madras powder also works particularly well for this recipe.
Can I make it in advance?
Chinese curry sauce is great for making ahead. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze it (with or without other ingredients) for up to 3 months.
It will congeal a little when it cools, so when it comes to reheating it, do so in the microwave or on the hob/stove and stir it well several times while reheating. You can add a splash more water to the mixture if needed to thin it out.
For a full list of ingredients, with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.
For the curry…
- Chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces – skinless and boneless
- Garlic cloves, crushed
- Minced ginger
- Onion, diced into large pieces
- Frozen peas
For the sauce base…
- Hot chicken stock
- Soy sauce
- Mild or medium curry powder
How to make it
For more detailed instructions, with recipe tips, jump to the printable recipe card.
- Mix the chicken, cornflour and turmeric together in a bowl.
- Whisk together all the sauce base ingredients.
- Fry the garlic and ginger for 20 seconds.
- Add the onion and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Push the ingredients to one side of the pan and add the chicken. Seal on all sides.
- Mix everything together and pour in the sauce base and add the peas. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Looking for more great Chinese fakeaway recipes? Try:
Magnetic Spice Rack – Set of 12
2 in 1 Garlic Press
Souper Cubes – freeze soups or sauces easily!
Chinese curry sauce is great for smothering over chips or combining with veg, beef or chicken for a main meal. It’s flavoursome, quick and super easy!
The default recipe makes around 120ml (8 tbsp) of curry sauce or 2 portions of curry.
- 250g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (see note 1)
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola/rapeseed)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/2 medium onion, diced into large pieces
- 40g frozen peas
for the sauce base…
- 180ml hot chicken stock
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp mild or medium curry powder (see note 2)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp cornflour (see note 3)
- 1 tsp sugar
If you want to make only the sauce then you can skip the steps with the chicken and also skip the onion and peas if you prefer. If you do add the onions you can blend the sauce at the end to make a smoother, pourable sauce, if not you can pass it through a sieve to remove any chunks of garlic and ginger.
- Mix the chicken breasts, cornflour and turmeric together in a bowl and set aside.
- Whisk together all the sauce base ingredients in a large jug or bowl.
- Add the oil to a wok or large frying pan and place on medium-high heat until smoking hot.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for around 20 seconds until starting to turn golden. Add the onion to the pan and fry for a further 2 minutes until the onions start to colour.
- Push the ginger, garlic and onion to one side of the pan and add the chicken. You can add a little more oil if the pan is looking dry.
- Cook the chicken until sealed on all sides and then toss everything together.
- Pour the sauce base ingredients into the pan and stir everything to combine.
- Add the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through. Season to taste.
- You can make the curry with beef instead of chicken if preferred. You can also add or substitute vegetables such as peppers, carrots, green beans or mushrooms.
- Any generic curry powder will work for this recipe. Madras curry powder also goes well although is typically spicier. Hot curry powder is also a great option if you want more of a kick to the curry.
- If you want a thicker curry, you can increase the cornflour by up to double the amount.
- The curry 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.
- The nutrition information is for the full curry. If just making the sauce (without the chicken) then it contains 160 calories and less than 10g of fat.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Curry
- Method: Hob
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 295
- Fat: 9.5g
- Carbohydrates: 14g
- Protein: 32.5g
Keywords: curry, chinese, asian, sauce, dip, chicken, easy, quick