Chicken Manchurian, an Indo-Chinese fan favorite, has become synonymous with Chinese food worldwide. This delicious and tangy chicken gravy has become one of the top-rated dishes ordered at Chinese restaurants, especially in the Asian Subcontinent.
And why not? Tender bite-size pieces of crispy fried chicken, enveloped in a sweet and tangy sauce, served with fluffy and flavorful rice cooked with a medley of vegetables. Wow!
If you want to try this delectable rice and gravy dish, read on to learn how to make it! This is a quick recipe, and with our easy-to-follow recipe steps, you are in for a treat!
Chicken Manchurian: History and Origin
Chicken Manchurian is a famous Indo-Chinese dish. It's made of fried chicken in a hot, sweet red sauce. Some recipes may add capsicum and spring onions, which gives it a nice crunch.
It is mostly served with fried rice or noodles. In restaurants, it is usually served on a sizzler plate. The sizzling hot, sweet, and sour chicken gravy with fluffy rice has an unforgettable taste!
You will be surprised to find out that Chicken Manchurian has nothing to do with Chinese cuisine at all! Manchuria is a region in China, but it definitely is not where chicken Manchurian originated. It was born in an Indian restaurant and has an interesting history.
Nelson Wang, a third-generation Chinese chef born in Kolkata, is credited with inventing the dish in Mumbai in the 1970s. His recipe was invented after several attempts at recreating the version served at Hsin Kuang in Lahore, Pakistan.
5 Reasons You Will Love Chicken Manchurian & Rice
There are so many reasons to love this fusion dish, but here are just 5 of them:
Irresistible Taste: This tangy and divine dish is finger-licking good! Tender chicken wrapped in a crispy coating, swimming in a sweet, sour, and aromatic red sauce pool! What's not to love? Whether you devour it on a bed of rice and mixed veggies or chewy noodles, it's a treat for your taste buds.
Quick to Prepare: This is a simple dish that uses simple ingredients. With a total cooking time of 30 minutes, you can easily treat your family and yourself to this dish on a busy weeknight.
Perfect Restaurant like Taste: If you have ever had chicken Manchurian in a restaurant, you may have wanted to replicate it at home. There is no need to be shy of copying it now! We have tried and tested this recipe several times to ensure that when you make it at home, your family will think you ordered takeout from your favorite Chinese place! It's that good!
Fan Favorite Recipe: Chicken Manchurian and fried rice is one of those meals that everyone loves! It is a top-rated meal at most Indo-Chinese and Pakistani restaurants. The Chinese and Pakistani flavors blend so well together that you will never tire of ordering it!
The Complete Package: The tantalizing chicken gravy and aromatic and soft rice are the complete package! You don't need anything else to make this a complete meal. You can dive right into both a filling and a whole meal.
If you want to explore the cuisines of other continents and are looking for another delicious chicken and rice dish, try our Arabian Chicken and Rice...! It's sure to tickle your taste buds!
Ingredients for Chicken Manchurian
Here is the ingredient list you will need:
- Rice (3 cups): Use long-grain rice, preferably Basmati, and cook until it's about 70% done. Drain it and set aside.
- Vegetable Oil (¼ cup): A neutral vegetable oil like canola or peanut oil is best because it does not overpower the gravy taste.
- Cabbage (1 medium-sized): Slice it thinly for a delicate crunch and texture.
- Carrots (2 medium, cubed): The vibrant orange adds color and flavor to the dish. This is an optional ingredient. In many places, Manchurian is made using only chicken.
- Capsicum (3 medium-sized, cubed): Combining red, green, and yellow capsicums creates a beautiful visual contrast.
- Eggs (3, scrambled): The fluffy scrambled eggs blend seamlessly with the rice, adding a rich, silky texture and stepping up the flavor game.
- Vinegar (2 tbsp): A touch of acidity for the perfect balance between the sweetness of the ketchup.
- Soya Sauce (4 tbsp): For that classic Chinese umami taste. The quantity of soya sauce can vary from restaurant to restaurant. Many places add a lot of soya sauce to enhance the flavor.
- Salt (to taste): Enhances all the other flavors.
- Garlic Powder (½ tbsp): Adds a subtle, aromatic, garlicky undertone.
- Crushed Black Pepper (½ tbsp): For a gentle kick of spice.
- Ginger Garlic Paste (1 tsp): Infuses a delightful savory aroma.
- Spring Onion (1 bunch): The fresh, green spring onions provide a crunch, a burst of color, and a mild, oniony zest.
Ingredients for Chicken Manchurian Marination:
- Chicken (200 grams, cubed): Marinated chicken cubes are the star of this dish.
- Salt (to taste): To season the chicken.
- Pepper (½ tsp): A hint of heat for the chicken.
- Paprika Powder (1 tsp): Adds a mild smokiness and vibrant color to the chicken.
- Soya Sauce (2 tbsp): A crucial element in the Manchurian sauce.
- Vinegar (1 tsp): Balances the flavors with acidity.
- Corn Flour (1 tbsp): For the batter, it helps to add crunch to the chicken while frying.
- Flour (1 tbsp): Combines with cornflour for a perfectly crispy coating.
- Egg (½): Binds the flour and cornflour to the chicken for the perfect crispy coating.
Vegetables for Chicken Manchurian:
- Onion (2 medium-sized): Sliced thinly for a delicate crunch in the sauce.
- Capsicum (2 medium-sized): Chunky capsicum pieces provide vibrant color and a mild crunch.
- Green Chilies (3-4 whole): Whole green chilies not only spice things up but also add an element of surprise.
- Carrots (1 large): Julienned for a delicate touch.
- Cabbage (½ medium-sized): Thinly shredded for a pleasing texture in the sauce.
Sauces and Spices for Chicken Manchurian Gravy:
- Ginger Garlic Paste (1 tsp): Aromatic ginger and garlic meld perfectly in the sauce.
- Ketchup (¾ cup): A sweet, tangy base for the Manchurian sauce.
- Chili Garlic Sauce (¾ cup): Adds a kick of heat and a robust garlic flavor.
- Soya Sauce (4 tbsp): For that classic Chinese umami taste in the sauce.
- Black Pepper (¼ tsp): Provides a subtle, spicy undertone.
- Salt (to taste): Enhances all the other flavors in the sauce.
- Paprika Powder (½ tsp): Adds a hint of smokiness and color.
- Chicken Powder (½ tsp): Enhances the overall savory flavor and adds an oomph to the gravy.
You will need basic kitchen equipment and utensils to make this dish efficiently. Here's a list of the things you will need:
For Chinese Rice:
Large Pot or Rice Cooker: To cook the rice until it's about 70% done. You can boil the rice in a pan or prepare it in a rice cooker.
Wok or Large Skillet: For stir-frying the vegetables and combining them with rice.
Knife and Cutting Board: For dicing and slicing vegetables and other prep work.
Measuring Cups and Spoons: To accurately measure ingredients.
For Chicken Manchurian:
Deep Fryer or Heavy-Duty Pan: To deep fry the marinated chicken until it's golden and crispy.
Another Large Wok or Skillet: For preparing the Manchurian sauce and stir-frying the vegetables.
Knife and Cutting Board: For slicing and preparing the vegetables.
Bowls for Marinating Chicken: To mix and marinate the chicken with the spices and sauces.
Measuring Cups and Spoons: For precise measurements of sauces and spices.
How to Make Chicken Manchurian & Chinese Rice
- Boil the Rice (70% done): In a large pot, cook the rice until it's nearly done. It will finish cooking with the vegetables. Drain it and set aside.
- Stir-fry the Vegetables: Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a spacious wok or skillet. Sauté the ginger garlic paste for a few seconds until fragrant. Now, introduce the cabbage, carrots, and capsicum to the pan. Stir-fry these vibrant veggies for 3-4 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Season with salt, crushed black pepper, and garlic powder. To retain the crunch and bite in the vegetables, do not overcook them.
- Combine with Rice: Add the 70% boiled rice, scrambled eggs, and spring onions to the wok. Gently stir everything together to ensure an even distribution of flavors. Allow it to cook on low flame, covered, for 5-7 minutes. This helps the rice absorb the flavors while retaining its delightful texture.
For the Chicken Gravy:
- Marinate the Chicken: Using the salt, pepper, paprika powder, soya sauce, vinegar, cornflour, all-purpose flour, and half of a beaten egg, marinate the chicken pieces. Allow it to marinate for at least an hour.
- Fry the Chicken: Heat oil separately and deep fry the marinated chicken pieces until they attain a golden, crispy exterior. Set them aside.
- Prepare the Sauce: Add some oil and introduce ginger garlic paste in another pan. Sauté for a moment, and then add the thinly sliced onions, chunky capsicum, whole green chilies, julienned carrots, and shredded cabbage. Stir-fry these vibrant vegetables for 2 minutes.
- Combine with Chicken: Now, add the fried chicken pieces to the pan along with the spices and sauces – ketchup, chili garlic sauce, soya sauce, black pepper, salt, paprika powder, and chicken powder.
- Thicken the Sauce: Add ¾ cup of water and let the gravy cook for another 2 minutes. This will give the sauce a perfect consistency. Avoid overcooking the vegetables.
To make your dish more visually appealing:
- Place the Chinese rice in a large serving bowl or platter and arrange the crispy Chicken Manchurian pieces on top of the rice.
- Drizzle some Manchurian sauce over the chicken for added gloss and flavor.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and thin slices of green chilies to make it more inviting.
Pro Tips for the Perfect Chicken Manchurian
Here are a set of complete tips to ensure that you can recreate this delectable meal at home.
For Chinese Rice:
- Use Cold Rice: To avoid sticky or soft rice when stir-frying use cold, leftover rice from the refrigerator. It separates easily and absorbs flavors better. You can also cook the rice a day in advance.
- High Heat for Stir-Frying: When stir-frying the vegetables, use high heat. This ensures they cook quickly and don't lose their color or crunch.
- Perfectly Scrambled Eggs: Scramble the eggs before adding them to the rice. This ensures they're evenly cooked and remain in distinct pieces, enhancing the dish's texture.
- Control the Salt: Be careful while adding salt because soya sauce and other sauces can be quite salty. You can add more salt later if needed, but reducing it once it's too salty is challenging.
- Dum Cooking: When the rice and other ingredients are combined, put them on "dum", or on a very low flame by covering the pan with a tight-fitting lid. This allows the flavors to combine with the rice.
For Chicken Manchurian:
- Even-sized Chicken Pieces: Cut the chicken into evenly sized pieces. This ensures that they absorb maximum flavor while marinating, cook uniformly, and become golden and crispy simultaneously.
- Fry in Batches: When deep frying the chicken, do it in batches rather than overcrowding the pan. Overcrowding can reduce the oil temperature and result in soggy chicken; nobody likes a crunch-less chicken!
- Fresh Veggies: Use fresh and vibrant vegetables for the Manchurian to maintain the flavor and the visual appeal.
- Adjust Spice: If you prefer some heat in your food, you can increase the number of green chilies or add a touch of chili sauce.
- Thickening the Sauce: Mix the cornflour with cold water thoroughly to make a slurry before adding it to the sauce for a glossy and thick sauce. Stir constantly, and it will thicken quickly. Be careful while adding the slurry because a little can go a long way.
- Preparation is Key: Mise en place (having everything prepped and ready) is crucial for all Chinese dishes. Ensure all ingredients are chopped, sauces measured, and utensils ready before cooking because the cooking process is very quick, and you want everything ready in advance.
- Taste as You Go: Taste your dishes as you cook and adjust seasonings accordingly. This is especially important for salt and spice levels. You can always customize flavors according to your palate.
- Garnish Beautifully: Garnish the final dish with fresh herbs like cilantro or chopped green onions. This adds color and a fresh flavor, making the presentation a piece of cake! As the saying goes: we eat with our eyes first!
- Customize to Taste: Don't hesitate to adjust the sauces and seasonings to match your personal preferences. Chinese cuisine is wonderfully adaptable.
- Experiment: Cooking is an art; you can always change things to find the perfect balance of flavors that suits your palate.
Chicken Manchurian is extremely popular in Pakistani and Indian restaurants. The sweet and sour flavor makes it a favorite for everyone.
Our recipe's vegetables add a great crunch and refreshing flavor to the gravy. We love this recipe and hope you try it and feel the same! Let us know in the comments.
- Can I replace white rice with brown rice for the Chinese rice?
- Yes! You can substitute brown rice for white rice. Brown rice is a healthier option because it has more fiber and nutrients. However, it has a longer cooking time, so adjust your cooking accordingly.
- Can I make this recipe vegetarian?
- Absolutely! You can replace the chicken in the Chicken Manchurian with tofu, paneer (cottage cheese), or various vegetables like cauliflower or mushrooms to create a delicious vegetarian version. Gobi Manchurian is a hit in India.
- Can I make the dish less spicy?
- You can reduce the spiciness by using fewer green chilies or milder chili sauces in the Chicken Manchurian. Additionally, reducing the black pepper or paprika can also make it less spicy.
- Is there a way to make the dish healthier?
- To make the dish healthier, consider using less oil for frying and choosing lean cuts of chicken. Additionally, you can air-fry the chicken pieces rather than frying them. The marination remains the same, pop them into your air-fryer for 10-15 minutes or until golden. You can increase the vegetable-to-meat ratio for a more balanced meal. Using brown rice and reducing the sauce in the Manchurian can also improve the overall nutritional profile.
- How do I prevent the rice from becoming sticky when stir-frying?
- Cold, leftover rice from the refrigerator can help separate the rice grains. Also, avoid overcooking the rice initially; keeping the rice slightly undercooked is best. Stir-fry on high heat and keep the stirring to a minimum to maintain the rice's individual grains.
- Can I prepare the Chicken Manchurian without deep frying?
- To make a healthier version bake or air-fry the chicken pieces instead of deep frying. This will reduce the oil content in the dish.
- What can I use as a substitute for ginger garlic paste?
- You can use freshly minced garlic and ginger if you don't have ginger garlic paste. Mince equal quantities of garlic and ginger and use them in the recipe.
- How can I adjust the sauce's thickness in Chicken Manchurian?
- If the sauce is too thin, add a slurry of cornflour (cornstarch) and water to thicken it. Mix the cornflour with cold water before adding it to the sauce and stir constantly as it thickens.
Note: These values are rough estimates and can vary significantly based on factors like portion size and specific brands of ingredients.
- Calories: 350-450 calories
- Carbohydrates: 60-75 grams
- Protein: 8-12 grams
- Fat: 6-10 grams
- Fiber: 3-5 grams
- Sugar: 3-5 grams
- Calories: 200-300 calories (approximately)
- Carbohydrates: 20-30 grams
- Protein: 15-20 grams
- Fat: 7-10 grams
- Fiber: 3-5 grams
- Sugar: 10-15 grams (mainly from sauces)