Chicken Manchurian is a delicious Indo-Chinese fusion dish that combines spicy deep-fried chicken chunks with sweet bell peppers. If you prefer a healthier option, you can also bake the chicken instead of frying it.
A Brief History of Chicken Manchurian:
Chicken Manchurian was created by Chinese restaurants in India and has little resemblance to traditional Manchu or Northeastern Chinese cuisine. Nelson Wang, a cook at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai, is credited with inventing the dish in 1975 when a customer requested a unique meal. Wang used Indian flavors like minced garlic, ginger, and green chilies as the base, substituted soy sauce for garam masala, added cornflour, and then incorporated chicken. Chicken Manchurian gained popularity throughout South Asia, and there are vegetarian variations using cauliflower, mushroom, baby corn, or veggie balls.
Why We Love This Recipe for Chicken Manchurian:
Chicken Manchurian is a popular appetizer or main dish served with rice. It represents the fusion of flavors between China and India, also known as Bengali or Indo-Chinese cuisine. Despite its savory and robust taste, this dish is surprisingly easy to make at home.
To prepare Chicken Manchurian in a traditional restaurant style, start by breading and deep-frying the chicken pieces. Then, stir-fry them in a sweet tomato-based marinade with ginger, garlic, and peppers. The entire meal can be prepared in about an hour!
Today, we’re sharing a simplified version of the classic recipe. But wait, there’s more! If you want to make a healthier version without breading and deep frying, keep reading.
How To Cook Manchurian
- Chicken pieces (boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination)
- Egg (to help the breading adhere to the chicken)
- Cornflour (provides crispiness to the breading)
- All-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour as an alternative)
- Coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- Canola, vegetable, or peanut oil for frying
For the Chicken Manchurian Gravy Sauce and Stir Fry, you’ll need:
- Sesame oil (traditional for Chinese cooking)
- Bell pepper (green or red), seeded and chopped
- Scallions (green or spring onions), divided and chopped
- Freshly grated ginger or ginger-garlic paste
- Asian sweet chili sauce (more on the sweet side than spicy)
- Tomato ketchup (adds tanginess to balance sweetness and saltiness)
- Coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
- Red chili powder, finely chopped red chilies, or red pepper flakes (optional)
- Sesame seeds for garnish
Chicken Manchurian Instructions:
- Place the chicken pieces on a cutting board and in a large mixing bowl. Add corn flour, flour, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Crack an egg over the mixture. Mix with your hands until the chicken is evenly coated. Let it rest while you prepare other ingredients.
- In a small bowl, combine crushed red pepper, ketchup, soy sauce, and sweet chili sauce. Mix well and set aside.
- Heat a medium-sized sauce pot and attach an oil-tipped cooking thermometer to the side. Place a plate with paper towels nearby. Once the oil reaches 350°F, carefully add 10-15 chicken pieces at a time, avoiding overcrowding. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove the fried chicken using a skimmer and transfer it to the plate. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add red bell pepper, scallion whites, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes to slightly soften the peppers and scallions.
- Add the Manchurian sauce mixture to the skillet and mix thoroughly. Warm up the sauce.
- Turn off the heat and gently add the warm Manchurian sauce to the fried chicken pieces. Toss to coat well. Sprinkle sesame seeds and scallion greens for garnish. Serve immediately.
Healthy Chicken Manchurian Recipe without Breading:
If you prefer a healthier version without breading, you can skip coating the chicken in flour and egg wash. Instead, fry small pieces of chicken in a skillet and then add the Manchurian sauce.
Chicken Manchurian pairs well with warm white rice, brown rice, or fried rice. For a low-carb option, serve it with roasted cauliflower rice. You can also combine Manchurian-style chicken with other Indo-Chinese dishes like stir-fried mushrooms, Panda Express