Chicken Manchurian is one of the most popular Chinese dishes in India. Often also made with cauliflower or paneer, it uses readily available sauces combined with Chinese cooking technique to make a very delicious dish.
300g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp cold water
a pinch of salt
1-2L canola oil, for deep frying
½ red capsicum, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ green capsicum, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 spring onions, finely sliced with white and green parts separated
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp chilli sauce
¼ cup stock or water
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
In a bowl, combine the chicken, egg, cornflour, plain flour, cold water and salt, and mix well to combine. The mixture should form a thick, smooth batter that coats the chicken. Combine the ingredients for the sauce, except for the garlic, ginger and cornflour mixture, in a separate bowl and stir to mix.
Heat the oil in a wok to 170C. Fry the chicken pieces in batches for about 3 minutes per batch, until the batter is golden and the chicken just cooked inside. Drain on a wire rack. Skim and discard any batter pieces in the oil while the chicken is frying. Add the capsicum pieces to the oil and fry for about a minute until slightly softened.
Remove the oil from the wok, leaving about 2 tbsp in the base. Add the garlic, ginger and spring onion white parts to the wok and toss for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the mixed sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Check the consistency of the sauce and add a little of the cornflour mixture, stirring until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken and capsicum to the wok and stir to coat in the sauce, toss through the spring onion greens and serve.
Tips for Chicken Manchurian
- The batter is not intended to stay crisp after coating with the sauce. The batter helps the sauce to stick to the chicken and gives it a delicious, silky texture.
- Adjust the heat of the dish by the type and amount of chilli sauce you add.
- Pay attention to the balance of sweetness and sourness of the dish. You can reduce the sweetness by reducing the amount of ketchup or sugar, reduce the sourness by reducing the vinegar, or increase the savouriness by adding more soy sauce.