Chicken Manchurian is a popular Hakka, Indo-Chinese dish that perfectly combines the flavors of tender chicken with a tangy, spicy sauce that has a hint of sweetness to it. This dish features perfectly marinated and deep fried chicken tossed with the tastiest sweet and spicy sticky sauce.
Table of Contents
- What is Chicken Manchurian?
- Why You’ll Love This Chicken Manchurian Recipe
- Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Chicken Manchurian At Home
- How to Make Chicken Manchurian (Step by Step)
- Joyce's Tips For Making the Best Chicken Manchurian Every Single Time
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Variation Ideas for Chicken Manchurian
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How to Store Leftover Chicken Manchurian
- Asian Takeout Recipes You May Like
- Recipe Card
Chicken manchurian is truly one of the tastiest takeout dishes you can easily make at home! The dish features succulent pieces of chicken that are first marinated in a flavorful blend of spices and then fried to perfection, resulting in a juicy and tender texture.
The star of this dish is the spicy, savory and sweet sticky sauce which is surprisingly easy to make and only requires some simple, pantry staple ingredients. The sauce perfectly coats the chicken for the perfect balance of flavors.
Whether chicken manchurian is your all-time favorite indo-chinese dish or you’re trying it for the first time, this recipe will give you an authentic flavor! It’s perfect for any occasion and super easy to make too. So, if you are craving a dish that is both delicious and comforting, then look no further than chicken manchurian.
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious chicken manchurian recipe today!
What is Chicken Manchurian?
Chicken Manchurian is a popular Indo-Chinese dish, like chilli chicken and crispy beef, is made with boneless chicken pieces that are deep-fried and then cooked in a tangy and spicy sauce. It is typically served as an appetizer or a side dish with fried rice or hakka noodles.
One of the main reasons why Chicken Manchurian is so popular is thanks to its delicious taste. The combination of crispy fried chicken and savory sauce creates a perfect balance of textures and flavors. The sauce is made using readily available ingredients such as soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili powder, and sugar which gives it a unique taste.
Chicken Manchurian is typically served either dry or with gravy. Dry chicken Manchurian is basically deep-fried marinated chicken fritters with no sauce, and is eaten as a snack or appetizer and dipped in a sauce. Gravy chicken Manchurian chicken is deep-fried marinated chicken as well but is coated in a spicy sauce.
Alternatively, you can also make this a vegetarian dish by deep-frying cauliflower instead of chicken, and that dish would be called 'Gobi (cauliflower) Manchurian'.
If you're looking to make a restaurant-style chicken Manchurian at home, then this is the recipe for you!
Why You’ll Love This Chicken Manchurian Recipe
Easy to make: This Chicken Manchurian recipe is simple and straightforward, making it perfect for even beginner cooks. With clear instructions and minimal ingredients, anyone can whip up this dish in no time.
Versatile: This recipe offers a lot of room for customization, allowing you to adjust the spice level and the consistency of the sauce according to your preference. You can also add your favorite vegetables or protein to make it even more versatile and suited to your taste.
Delicious: The combination of tender chicken pieces coated in a flavorful sauce makes this Chicken Manchurian recipe absolutely delicious. The savory and tangy flavors of the sauce perfectly complement the juicy chicken, creating a mouthwatering dish that will leave you wanting more.
Crowd-pleaser: This Chicken Manchurian recipe is a real crowd-pleaser, making it a great option for parties or gatherings. Whether you’re serving it as an appetizer or as a main course, your guests are sure to be impressed by the delicious flavors and the enticing aroma of this dish.
Authentic: This recipe is special because it stays true to the authentic flavors of Chicken Manchurian. By using the right combination of ingredients and cooking techniques, this recipe captures the essence of this popular Indo-Chinese dish.
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Chicken Manchurian At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious chicken manchurian recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Boneless Chicken: I like to use boneless chicken as the base for this delicious indo-chinese dish. I personally like to use dark meat with the skin on for a bit more flavor, but you can also use white meat (chicken breast) as well.
- Sweet Red Bell Pepper: I like to finely dice red pepper and cook it with the garlic-ginger-onion trio to give the sauce a bit of sweetness but also a nice pepper flavor as well. You can also use green bell pepper as well.
For the Manchurian Marinade:
- Small Onion: We will be adding a small onion to the marinade. This will provide a sweet onion flavor to the chicken batter.
- Ginger: You’ll also need some ginger for this recipe. This will give the dish a warm and aromatic flavor for that authentic touch.
- Garlic Cloves: We will also be adding some garlic cloves to the marinade. This will add a garlicky flavor to the chicken that truly helps bring out all the flavors. This trio of ginger-garlic-onion mix of aromatics is the star of the recipe for both the marinade, batter, and sauce. Please do not omit or substitute these ingredients.
- Black Pepper: Using black pepper and adding to the marinade will give the dish a subtle heat and enhance the overall flavor.
- Chili Powder: You’ll also need some chili powder for this recipe. You’ll need some Indian chili powder instead of what we find in the local grocery store since the later is a blend of cumin and other spices which is mainly used for tex-mex cooking. This recipe calls for pure chili pepper blended into a fine powder, which you can find at an Indian grocery store. Alternatively, you can substitute it 1:1 with cayenne pepper.
- Soy Sauce: We will be using soy sauce in the marinade to add a salty and savory taste to the chicken. It’ll infuse the chicken with a ton of umami flavor.
- Water: We will be adding some water to the marinade to help create a liquid base and guarantee that the chicken is evenly coated in flavor and it will keep it moist.
- Cornstarch or Potato Starch: I like to create the crispy chicken batter without eggs in this recipe. That’s why my recipe calls for either corn starch or potato starch directly added into marinated chicken instead of eggs. This creates a very crispy batter once it is deep-fried.
For the Manchurian Sauce:
- Tomato Paste: We’ll be using some tomato paste in our manchurian sauce to add a rich and tangy flavor to the dish. I like to use tomato paste instead of ketchup because it gives the sauce a nice red color as well as extra umami flavor.
- Sugar: You’ll also need a little sugar. This will help balance out all the flavors and add a hint of sweetness that chicken manchurian is known for.
- Oyster Sauce: We will be adding oyster sauce to the marinade to give the dish a more savory and umami taste, and even a hint of sweet saltiness. I highly recommend using this ingredient, but if you cannot find it you can substitute it with half the amount of soy sauce with a pinch of sugar.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is a big part of the flavor for the sauce. I use both regular soy sauce and dark soy. Regular soy sauce gives this sauce its flavor and dark soy sauce is used to give the sauce a darker color but if you cannot find it you can use regular soy in its place.
- Rice Vinegar or White Vinegar: We can use either rice vinegar or white vinegar to add a tangy and acidic flavor to the dish.
- Chili Powder: Again, we’ll need some chili powder for our sauce as well to give it that delicious spicy touch.
- Bird’s Eye Chili Pepper: If you like it a bit spicier, you can also add bird's eye chili. Start with 1-2 for mild spicy, 3-4 for medium spicy, or 4-8 for hot spicy.
- Cornstarch: You’ll need some cornstarch for the manchurian sauce as well since we’ll be using it to thicken our sauce by mixing it with cold water to make a slurry.
- Cilantro (Optional): If desired, we can also garnish the dish with some fresh cilantro for a burst of freshness and added aroma.
How to Make Chicken Manchurian (Step by Step)
Making this incredible chicken manchurian recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
How to Marinate Chicken for Chicken Manchurian
Start by preparing the ginger-garlic-onion paste. Use a food processor to blitz the ginger, garlic, and half a small onion until it forms a fine paste. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this for browning the onions and red peppers later.
Next, cut up the chicken into small bite-sized 1 inch pieces and marinate it in a bowl with the ginger-garlic-onion paste, soy sauce, chilli powder, black pepper, and water.
Make sure not to add the corn starch yet. We will add that right before we deep fry the chicken. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
How to Prep Ingredients
Let’s start prepping our ingredients! Start by finely dicing the red peppers and set them aside with the reserved ginger-garlic-onion mix.
If you are garnishing with cilantro, finely chop some and set it aside for the end.
How to Make Chicken Manchurian Sauce
Time to prep our sauce! Chop up the chillis in slices (keep the seeds) and add them to a small bowl.
Mix the tomato paste, oyster sauce, sugar, dark soy, regular soy, rice vinegar, and chilli powder together and mix well until it is combined.
Add water into the sauce and mix everything until it's combined well.
In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of corn starch with 4 teaspoons of cold water, then add it to the sauce and stir to combine. Set the sauce aside for later use.
How to Deep Fry Chicken for Chicken Manchurian
Time to fry out chicken! Add the corn starch to the chicken and mix until everything is well combined.
In a wok, frying pan, or deep fryer, heat the oil to 350F (177C). You can test if the oil is hot by putting a wooden chopstick or spoon in the oil. If it bubbles, you're good to go.
When the oil is hot, add the chicken into the oil one at a time. Fry the chicken in small batches to avoid overcrowding the oil, which can lower the temperature.
Fry for approximately 5-6 minutes, until it is cooked through and golden brown. Place the fried chicken on a plate lined with a paper towel or newspaper to absorb excess oil.
Once all the chicken has finished deep-frying, add them all back into the deep fryer at the same time and fry it for 30 seconds. This will re-heat the chicken and the double frying will make the chicken crispier.
Remove the chicken from the deep fryer and set it aside for later.
How to Assemble Chicken Manchurian
In a wok or frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium to medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, add 2 tablespoons of ginger-garlic-onion paste and cook until it becomes toasty and brown. Be careful not to burn it, which can happen in approximately 2 minutes.
Add the finely diced red peppers to the pan and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Give the sauce a quick stir to ensure the corn starch is evenly distributed, as it tends to settle at the bottom of the mixture. Add the sauce to the pan. Stir the sauce continuously until it thickens.
Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and add the deep-fried chicken to the pan. Mix the chicken with the sauce until it is well coated.
If you are using cilantro as a garnish, toss it in now.
Your delicious Chicken Manchurian is ready to be served. Enjoy with a bowl of rice!
Joyce's Tips For Making the Best Chicken Manchurian Every Single Time
Marinating the Chicken: In order to enhance the flavor and tenderness of the chicken, marinate it for at least 1 hour before cooking.
Double-frying the Chicken: I like to fry the chicken for a second time for 30 seconds after I have finished the first fry to make the chicken crispier. Totally optional, but definitely worth it.
Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: When you are deep frying, make sure not to overcrowd the pot and only deep-fry a few pieces at a time so that it doesn't drop the temperature of the oil.
Test Oil Temperature: If you don't have a thermometer to test the temperature of the oil, use a wooden chopstick or spoon and stick it in the oil, if it starts to bubble then you're good to start deep frying.
Whenever we make this simple chicken Manchurian, plain white rice or a simple egg fried rice is always our default go-to as our side. It's easy to make, and it sops up the sauce well without overpowering the chicken.
If you're still looking for a simple rice dish for this recipe, I highly recommend vermicelli rice as well. It's a very simple rice dish made with small pieces of butter-toasted vermicelli cooked with it
Whenever we make this simple chicken Manchurian, plain white rice or a simple egg fried rice is always our default go-to as our side. It's easy to make, and it sops up the sauce well without overpowering the chicken.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Chicken Manchurian
This delicious chicken manchurian recipe is so flavorful and easy to make, you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
- Spicy Manchurian: Add extra red chili flakes or spicy sauce to give this dish a kick. Adjust the level of spiciness according to your preference.
- Vegetable Manchurian: We can add diced bell peppers, carrots, and onions to the chicken to make it more wholesome and nutritious.
- Gobi Manchurian: For a classic cauliflower version, marinate and fry cauliflower florets before coating them with the manchurian sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between chicken manchurian and chili chicken?
Every restaurant you go to will have their own version of chilli chicken and authentic chicken Manchurian recipe and they will all taste vastly different as well but the main difference between these two dishes is that chicken Manchurian is less spicy and sweeter than chilli chicken.
Is this chicken manchurian recipe a dry or gravy version?
This chicken Manchurian recipe is between a dry and gravy version. It is not completely dry, but it is also not overly saucy that your chicken will be sitting in a pool of sauce. There is enough sauce to coat the chicken. I made it this way so that you can still enjoy the crispiness of the chicken but have the delicious flavor from the sauce as well.
If you want to make this a dry chicken Manchurian, just skip making the sauce completely. If you want to have more gravy, double the sauce portion of the recipe.
What type of red chili powder should I use for chicken manchurian?
I recommend using Indian chili powder instead of regular chili powder for this recipe. The chilli powder at local grocery stores usually are a blend of cumin and other spices - this is not the type of chilli you would use for this recipe because it has a more tex-mex kind of flavor.
Indian chili powders are just pure chili peppers blended into a fine powder with no extra spices, so this gives just heat.
When you are looking for chilli powder, make sure there are no other extra spices in the ingredient list - it should only be chillis. If you cannot find this, you can substitute it 1:1 with cayenne pepper.
Can I bake the chicken instead of deep-frying it?
Unfortunately, there is no workaround to deep-frying the chicken. If you don't have a deep fryer, or you don't want to use a lot of oil, you can use a deep small pot or wok to deep fry.
Using a smaller pot will use less oil and the oil will come up higher in depth so that the chicken will not touch the bottom of the pan and burn when it's being fried.
It's also very important not to fill the pot with oil more than halfway so that it doesn't overflow when you are deep frying.
What can I serve with Chicken Manchurian?
Can I use vegetables instead of chicken in this recipe?
Yes, you can make Vegetable Manchurian by replacing the chicken for fried cauliflower for a classic variation known as gobi manchurian or cauliflower manchurian. It’s a great vegetarian option that I highly recommend you try!
How to Store Leftover Chicken Manchurian
To store leftovers of Chicken Manchurian, first, allow the dish to cool down to room temperature. Then, transfer the leftovers into an airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap before placing them in the refrigerator. Make sure to consume the leftovers within 2-3 days.
When reheating, you can either use the stovetop or the microwave. If you are using the stovetop, heat the Chicken Manchurian in a pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
If you are using the microwave, transfer the leftovers to a microwave-safe dish first and then heat them in 1-minute intervals, stirring in between, until thoroughly heated.
I don't recommend freezing Chicken Manchurian as the texture and taste of the batter and sauce will become soggy. Plus, the sauce may separate. It is best to consume the leftovers within a few days or share them with friends and family to prevent wastage.
Asian Takeout Recipes You May Like
- Chilli Chicken
- Hakka Noodles
- Sweet and Stick Crispy Beef
- Sweet and Sour Pork
- Sweet and Sticky Char Siu (叉烧, Chinese BBQ Pork)
- Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce (鱼香茄子)
- Singapore Noodles (Singapore Mei Fun)
- Beef Chow Fun (Beef Ho Fun)
- Crispy Cantonese Beef Chow Mein
- Hong Kong Style Sweet and Sour Chicken
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Joyce's Recipe Notes
- The chilli powder at local grocery stores usually are a blend of cumin and other spices - this is not the type of chilli you would use for this recipe. That type of chilli powder has a more tex-mex kind of flavor. Indian chilli powders are just pure chilli peppers blended into a fine powder with no extra spices, so this gives just heat. When you are looking for chilli powder, make sure there are no other extra spices in the ingredient list - it should only be chillis. If you cannot find this, you can substitute it 1:1 with cayenne pepper.
- Oyster sauce gives the sauce extra umami flavor and a hit of sweet saltiness. I highly recommend using this ingredient, but if you cannot find it you can substitute it with half the amount of soy sauce with a pinch of sugar.
- Dark soy sauce is used to give the chicken a darker color. If you cannot find it, you can substitute it with soy sauce instead.
- 1 ½ lbs boneless chicken (Preferably dark meat)
- ½ sweet red bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons garlic-ginger-onion mix (reserved from marinade)
Chicken Manchurian Marinade
- ½ small onion (approx. 3-4 tablespoons)
- 3-4 slices ginger (approx. 1½ - 2 tablespoons)
- 3 cloves garlic (approx. 1½ tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ tablespoon chilli powder (*See Note 1)
- 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- 10 tablespoons cornstarch (mix this in with the chicken after you are done marinating, right before deep frying)
Chicken Manchurian Sauce
Cornstarch Slurry (To Thicken Sauce)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 4 teaspoons cold water
- cilantro (Optional)
Marinating the Chicken
- With a food processor, blitz the ginger, garlic, and half a small onion until it is a fine paste. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this for browning the onions and red peppers later.
- Cut up the chicken into small bite-sized 1 inch pieces and marinate it in a bowl with the ginger-garlic-onion paste, soy sauce, chilli powder, black pepper, and water. (Do not add the corn starch yet. We will add that right before we deep fry the chicken.) Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight.
- Finely dice the red peppers and set them aside with the reserved ginger-garlic-onion mix.
- If you are garnishing with cilantro, finely chop some and set it aside for the end.
Preparing the Chicken Manchurian Sauce
- Finely chop the bird eye chilis (keep the seeds) and add them to a small bowl.
- Mix 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 2 ½ tablespoons sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons dark soy sauce , 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar, and 1 ½ teapoons chilli powder together and mix well until it is combined.
- Add ½ cup water into the sauce and mix everything until it's combined well.
- In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch with 4 teaspoons cold water, then add it to the sauce and stir to combine. Set the sauce aside for later.
Deep Frying the Chicken
- Add in 10 tablespoons cornstarch to the chicken and mix until everything is well combined
- In a wok, frying pan or deep fryer heat the oil to 350F (177C).
- When the oil is hot, add the chicken into the oil one at a time. Fry it in small batches being careful not to overcrowd the oil, which can drop the oil temperature, which will make the chicken soggy.
- Fry the chicken for about 5-6 minutes and set them aside on a plate with a paper towel or newspaper to absorb some of the oil.
- Once all the chicken has finished deep-frying, add them all back into the deep fryer at the same time and fry it for 30 seconds. This will re-heat the chicken and the double frying will make the chicken crispier.
- Remove the chicken from the deep fryer and set it aside for later.
Putting It Together
- In a wok or frying pan, set the stove to medium to medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil
- When the oil is hot, add in the 2 tablespoons of ginger-garlic-onion mix that was reserved from preparation and cook it until it is toasty and brown. Approximately 2 minutes. Careful not to burn it.
- Add in the finely diced red peppers and cook them for 2 minutes.
- Give the sauce a quick stir (the corn starch likes to settle at the bottom) and add it to the wok
- Keep stirring the sauce until it thickens.
- Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat on the stove and add the deep-fried chicken into the pan and mix it together with the sauce until the chicken is well coated.
- If you are using cilantro as a garnish, toss it in now.
- Enjoy with a bowl of rice!
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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