Chicken Manchurian is a popular Indian-Chinese dish. This recipe can easily be made at home with common ingredients like ketchup, soy sauce, chili paste, and, chicken. This version is a bit healthier with wok-friend chicken for a version you can feel comfortable feeding your family as a nutritious meal.
Why This Recipe
This recipe is kept simple, with relatively few ingredients. It relies on store-bought sauces like ketchup and chili sauce (sombal olak). This dish comes together very quickly and tastes every bit as good as chicken manchurian from a restaurant. If you don’t mind the extra fat, you can also deep fry the chicken. Or use an air fryer if you prefer.
Serve with rice, like Chicken Chopper rice, or with noodles.
This is a wok based stir fry. India has a type of pan that is very similar to a wok called a karahi. These types of pans (karahi and woks) are designed to cook food at a very high heat. I had some issues with getting mine hot enough over the hot plate that I use for my videos. When the pan wasn’t hot enough, the chicken stuck to the pan. So be sure to get your pan and your oil very hot before adding your chicken.
If you do not have a wok or karahi, you can make this on a regular skillet. You may have to use a little more oil to keep the pan coated and the chicken from sticking to your pan.
About the Ingredients
Chili paste is a common chinese sauce. I like to use sambal oelek. You can use sriracha or any other type of chili paste. If you have dried red chilies, you can make your own by soaking and grinding them.
I do not recommend using chili-garlic paste unless that is all you have available. The flavor is noticeably different. If you do choose to use chili-garlic paste, be sure to leave out the garlic in the recipe.
Manchurian sauce makes up the main flavor profile of this recipe. In this recipe, we make it by combining garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chili paste, ketchup, and rice wine vinegar.
For the chicken
- 1 lb boneless and skinless chicken thighs chicken breasts or a mix are fine as well, cut into 1” pieces
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 egg white
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 3 Tbsp cooking oil Use a neutral oil with high smoke point, like avocado oil
For the Sauce
- 1 medium bell pepper ½ cup chopped, any color, chopped into 1“ pieces
- 1 small onion ½ cup chopped, chopped into 1” chunks
- 1 Tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger minced of grated with a microplane
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp ketchup
- ½ Tbsp chili paste like Sambal Olek
- ½ Tbsp corn starch
- Scallions for garnish
- 1 cup water
- In a medium bowl, combine chicken pieces, black pepper, salt, and soy sauce. Let marinade for 15 minutes.
- Then to the same bowl, without removing any of the liquid, add the corn starch and egg white. Using a wooden spoon or stiff spatula, stir well until the mixture develops a velvety texture.
- In a small bowl, combine the ½ Tbsp of corn starch with ½ cup of cool water and mix well to form a slurry. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, ketchup, and chili paste. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok or karahi until it shimmers, about 350° F
- Transfer the chicken to the hot oil. Stir often until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the wok onto some paper towels and set aside.
- In the same wok (there should be plenty of oil remaining), add onions and bell peppers. Give it a good stir and then add the ginger, and garlic. Stir quickly for about 10 seconds to cook the ingredients and prevent burning.
- Add the sauce mix, then the slurry. Let cook for about 30 seconds, stir continously.
- Add the chicken and ½ cup water or more depending on the amount of gravy you like.
- Let cook for 1 minute to allow ingredients to meld.
- Garnish with chopped scallions.
- If you are using a wok, make sure you are using it on high flame and make sure your pan is hot enough when you add your chicken or it will stick.
- If you want to avoid wok-sticking issues, you can pan cook or air-fry your chicken, or even deep-fry it if you prefer which is the traditional method
- Because the wok is so hot, for this type of cooking, all of the sauces are combined before cooking and thrown in together. You don’t want to cook your sauces while you reach for the next one because it will quickly start to burn.
- Add more chili sauce if you like a spicy dish
- Deep fry the chicken for the classic crispy fritter. Use an air fryer if you have one.
Instructions for Freezing
Make the sauce and the chicken separately. Freeze separately. When ready to serve, heat the chicken in a pan. Then top with the defrosted sauce and cook for a minute or so to make it warm.