Chicken Manchurian is one of the easiest Indo-Chinese chicken recipes. It is very famous in Pakistan too. This recipe provides restaurant-style Manchurian chicken with fewer ingredients and fewer calories.
Updated: 2 Septemer 2020
Did you know Chicken Manchurian is not Chinese in origin? It was first introduced in Calcutta, a city of India, by Nelson Wang. The Chinese style batter-fried chicken dunked in sweet and sour gravy was wedded with Indian spices, an extra burst of garlic, and soy sauce. Soon the dish was famous all over the city and similarly, many other pseudo-Indo-Chinese recipes were created to meet the Indian taste buds with fancy names. A vegetarian version of this dish called cauliflower or Gobi Manchurian is very famous.
Taste of Chicken Manchurian
You can't go wrong with this recipe. It’s so simple, you need the batter-fried chicken to get soaked in sweet and sour Manchurian gravy. The taste is mildly hot with extra heat from chillies and a rich burst of garlic and soy sauce.
Why this recipe works?
The chicken is Manchurian sauce is never crispy. It is soft, velvety, and juicy. To attain this we use velveting, a technique in Chinese cuisine secret. We thinly coat chicken in flour batter and fry it. This locks the juices in the chicken making it very tasty.
While some recipes call for deep frying. I've found stir fry provides equally delicious taste with fewer calories. So this is also a healthy recipe if homemade ketchup is used. I like this non-stick wok best for stir-frying.
I've found lightly battered chicken works best, as thicker coating gets soaked in sauce and become soggy and too heavy to be enjoyed. So stick to just 4 tablespoons of flour in the recipe or less. Remember, we are coating chicken for velveting and not for crusting. You can read more about velveting here.
Most Manchurian recipes call for ketchup and rely on sugar and vinegar for more flavor. I found using extra ketchup substitutes some of the ingredients and give the same restaurant-style taste with bright red color.
How to make Chicken Manchurian?
There are many versions of this recipe. Here’s is my simple but delicious version.
Steps for Chicken
- Put all the ingredients to marinate the chicken in a bowl except oil and mix well.
- Set aside and let it marinate for 30 minutes.
- Now, heat just 2 tablespoon oil in a non- stick pan and stir fry half of the marinated chicken on high heat for 2-3 minutes until color turns white and chicken is cooked.
- Remove the chicken to a plate. Now add another 2 tablespoons of old and stir fry remaining chicken similarly. Set aside until gravy is ready.
Steps for Munchurian Sauce
This simple Manchurian sauce is made of ketchup, red chili, garlic, soy sauce, capsicum, and cornflour slurry.
- While chicken marinates, prepare the Manchurian gravy. In a pot or wok, heat oil and add garlic and dried red button chilli. ( you can use any other dry red chilli too.
- Add Ketchup, chilli garlic sauce, capsicum, chicken stock cube, and soy sauce. You may use less or more soy sauce depending upon its potency.
- Add water and mix well.
- Mix cornflour and water in a bowl to make a slurry and add to the Manchurian sauce to thicken the gravy. Keep cooking on low heat and stir constantly to avoid lumps until gravy is thickened.
- Add chicken munch to the gravy.
- Now Manchurian is moderate to the very spicy gravy. So I recommend adding black pepper first then do a taste test and add red chili powder as needed to match your heat preference.
- Garnish with green onions and serve Chicken Manchurian with plain or fried rice. (Get Vegetable Fried Rice Recipe here.)
Steps for Manchurian sizzler:
To make Manchurian sizzler add extra ½ cup water is gravy and heat throughly. Heat the hot plate on the stove for 15-20 minutes until thoroughly heated. Add about 1-2 tablespoon of oil in the hot plate and spread all over then add half of the Manchurian gravy and serve the sizzling plate immediately. Check this sizzler plate here.
Hungry for more? Check these!
Chicken Manchurian Recipe
- Wok to fry
- 2 chicken breast, cut in ¾ inch small cubes (500 grams)
- ½ tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon soya sauce
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoon cornflour
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoon oil, to stir-fry, divided
For Munchurian Sauce
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 5 whole red button chilli, substitute with any hot chili, see note 1
- 2-3 tablespoon soya sauce
- 1 chicken cube or bullion, see notes 2
- ½ cup capsicum / bell peppers, sliced, any color
- ½ cup ketchup, homemade ketchup recipe here
- 4 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, substitute with 1 tablespoon sriracha, see note 3
- 1 ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoon cornflour, dissolved in ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder, or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- 2-4 tablespoon green onions, thinly sliced
- Fried Rice, to serve, recipe here
- Mix all ingredients to marinate chicken except oil in a bowl. Marinate for 30 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a pan or wok and stir fry half of the chicken for 2-3 minutes. When the color of the chicken changes to white, remove it to a plate. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the remaining chicken similarly. Set aside.
For Munchurian gravy
- Heat oil in the same pan, add garlic and red button chilli. Fry for 1 minute then add ketchup, chilli garlic sauce, capsicum and soya sauce. Simmer for a minute then add the water and mix well.
- Now add cornflour slurry and cook for few minutes until gravy turns glossy. Stir continously to avoid lumps.
- Add red chilli powder and black pepper. Adjust as per heat preference.
- Garnish with green onions and serve with rice.
- Red Button Chilli: Red button chili is a very spicy chili. But since we are using the whole of it, it will add more to the aroma and won't make it very spicy. You can smash it after frying for a spicy flavor and more taste. You can substitute it with other whole chilies or skip it.
- Chicken Bullion: In Indo-Chinese cuisine, MSG or Ajinomoto is always added as a flavor enhancer. We avoid this for a healthy diet and replace it with a chicken cube. You may replace 1½ cup water with chicken stock to skip chicken cube.
- Chili garlic sauce: It is spicy and garlicky ketchup. You can replace it with sriracha sauce and extra garlic.
- Corriander leaves: Although coriander is not added in Chinese. In Indo-Chinese, a little finely chopped coriander is added for a background taste. You may add 1 tablespoon very finely chopped coriander leaves if you like.
- Ketchup: If you don’t want to use tomato ketchup. You many use tomato purée, vinegar, and sugar.
- The chicken will swell a bit as they go in gravy so make sure the chicken cubes are small.