How about skipping a takeaway and making a lovely Indo-Chinese Chicken Manchurian instead? We promise you three things – it will taste better than any take-out dish, it will be a lot healthier (and lower in calories) and you will make it quicker than the delivery driver would have knocked on your door! Coated chicken covered in spicy sweet and sour sauce goes perfectly well with both noodles and fluffy white rice!
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What is Chicken Manchurian?
A Chinese recipe, that is extremely popular in the Indian subcontinent. Often described as an Indo-Chinese dish, Chicken Manchurian features a sweet, salty, sour and umami sauce (also known as Manchurian Gravy) and crispy fried chicken. It a wonderful example of how diverse Chinese food (and Chinese cuisine overall) is.
Many Chinese restaurants also add red food colouring to the dish to make it appear more vibrant, so if you are going for a striking presentation, go ahead, and paint that sauce red!
Similar to our Crispy Chilli Chicken recipe, this one is just as tasty and just as quick recipe to make (if not quicker).
It may look like a long list of ingredients, but once you look at it, you will probably see that you have the majority of the ingredients at home already.
For The Chicken:
- chicken breast: use skinless boneless chicken in this recipe. You are also welcome to replace chicken breast with thighs, but keep in mind that thighs take longer to cook.
- cornflour (cornstarch) and plain flour: is a perfect combination to ensure a crispy coating for the chicken. If you are looking to make a gluten-free meal, substitute the all purpose flour with an equal amount of extra corn flour.
- oil for frying: we recommend odourless oil, such as sunflower or vegetable oil.
For Delicious Manchurian Sauce
Don’t be put off by the long list – they are all simple ingredients that you may already have.
- chilli flakes: substitute with half a fresh chilli or even red chili powder if you wish. If you don’t like your food too spicy, don’t add the seeds of the chilli.
- root ginger: use ginger paste if that’s easier for you.
- garlic clove: use garlic paste if you have some handy.
- red onion: or brown onion, or even a shallot.
- tomato paste: rich concentrated paste that typically comes in a tube. If you wish, you can use tomato ketchup, but make sure to skip the sugar in this recipe.
- sriracha or other chilli sauce of your preference.
- soy sauce: we used dark soy sauce. If you want a gluten-free meal, make sure you use a GF soy sauce, like Tamari.
- rice vinegar: substitute with white wine or apple cider vinegar.
- brown sugar: light or brown sugar will work just fine.
- cornflour (cornstarch): acts as a thickening agent for the sauce when the cornstarch slurry is added to it.
- chicken stock: can be replaced with vegetable stock.
- spring onions: used to garnish. Can be replaced with chives or some coriander.
STEP 1: Cook Crispy Chicken
Place the plain flour, cornflour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and mix. Cut the skinless boneless chicken breasts into cubes, about 1.5cm.
Add the chicken cubes to the coating and mix well, ensuring every piece of chicken is coated.
Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the chicken pieces to hot oil, shaking off any excess coating, and fry for approx 10 minutes on medium-high heat, string often to ensure even browning on all sides. If you are making a large quantity, work in batches or fry at the same time in a couple of large frying pans. Alternatively, deep frying the chicken will also work well.
Once the chicken is cooked through and golden brown, remove it from the pan, and place it on a plate lined with paper towels for any excess oil to be absorbed. Set it aside for later.
How To Make Sweet and Sour Manchurian Sauce?
To the emptied pan, add a tablespoon oil, the red chili flakes, finely cubed onion, chopped garlic and ginger. Sautee on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, sriracha, soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar to the pan and stir for a minute. Then add the stock and bring it to a rapid boil.
In the meantime, mix the cornflour with two tablespoons of water to make a cornflour slurry. Add it to the tomato sauce. Stirring, simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt and black pepper if needed.
Assemble, Garnish and Serve
Once the sauce is thickened, add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat and warm through for a minute. Garnish with green onions or chopped green chilli. Serve with rice!
Absolutely! You can use skinless boneless chicken thighs instead. Thinly sliced beef strips work great in this recipe too.
If you want to make a vegetarian meal, why not make Paneer Manchurian, using a delicious Indian Paneer Cheese instead? For a vegan option, use small cauliflower florets. Par-boil them first, then dip them in cornflour and fry in oil to crisp up. Then add to the sauce just like you would with chicken. If you are cooking for vegans or vegetarians, make sure to use dairy-free vegetable stock too.
It can be, but you will need to adjust the recipe. First, replace the plain flour with more corn flour for the coating of the chicken. Second, make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce (Tamari). Check the stock you are using as well – it is surprising how many stock cubes aren’t gluten-free. If you are looking for a naturally gluten-free Chinese Chicken dish, try our Salt and Pepper Chicken.
Chop up some bell peppers (we like green bell pepper in this recipe most, as it adds less sweetness), and a small carrot or even add sweet potato cubes.
What To Serve Chicken Manchurian With?
As with many other Chinese dishes, fluffy boiled white rice is our first choice to serve with this delicious Chicken Manchurian. But if you’re looking for something a little bit extra special, serve the Manchurian Chicken with egg-fried rice or noodles. This way, we have the best of two worlds – Indian and Chinese Cuisines.
For a vegetable side dish, we recommend some Chargrilled Pak Choi or some simple Tenderstem Broccoli.
Other Delicious Chicken Recipes
Everybody likes easy weeknight chicken recipes, right? Some of our favourite meals, that come together in no time, include:
- Quick & Easy Honey Chicken
- Chicken with Grapes in Cream & White Wine Sauce
- Chinese Salt And Pepper Chicken
- Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry
Quick Chicken Manchurian
For The Chicken:
- 300 g chicken breast
- 1½ tablespoon cornflour
- 1½ tablespoon plain flour
- oil for frying
For Manchurian Sauce:
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
- 10 g root ginger finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sriracha or other chilli sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 level tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 200 ml chicken stock hot
- 1 spring onions sliced on the diagonal
- Place the flour, cornflour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl and mix.
- Add the chicken cubes and mix well insuring every piece of chicken is coated in the mixture.
- Heat 3-4 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the chicken, shaking off any excess coating, and fry for approx 10 minutes, string often to ensure even browning on all sides. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pan and set aside for later.
- To the emptied pan, add the chilli flakes, red onion, garlic and ginger. Sautee on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, sriracha, soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar to the pan and stir for a minute. Then add the stock and bring it to the boil.
- In the meantime, mix the cornflour with two tablespoons of water and add it to the stock. Stirring, simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Once the sauce is thickened. Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat and warm through for a minute. Garnish with spring onion. Serve with rice!
This sauce is amazing. I could eat it straight off the spoon! Such a delicious recipe. Will definitely make again.
Thanks so much for the feedback, Beth! So glad you liked it! 💗
We made this last night and it didn’t disappoint. It was so easy to make and the sauce was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy too.
So glad, Amanda! Thanks 🙂
Drooling over chicken Manchurian here. I love the flavors. Thanks for sharing.
What a great recipe! I like this chicken manchurian because it’s very easy to prepare.