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Chicken Manchurian

If you love Indian food, you will love Chicken Manchurian.  This highly aromatic dish begins with tender perfectly marinated bites of crispy chicken which is then then sauteed in a fragrant sauce of melt-in-your mouth peppers and sweet red onions..
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: MAIN DISHES
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Chicken Marinade

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cubed, into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 egg large
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup vegetable oil for frying

Manchurian Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 2 tablespoon chilli sauce or ketchup
  • 1 med red onion thickly sliced
  • 1 green pepper thickly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno peppers sliced, optional
  • 2 cups chicken broth (very hot) or two cups water dissolved with 1 chicken bouillion cube
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 4 tablespoon soy sauce regular
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 shallot coarsely sliced
  • 2 springs coriander leaves minced

Instructions

Marinate the Chicken

  • Mix the chicken and all other ingredients listed in the marinade section except the oil. Set aside for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

Manchurian Sauce

  • Pour the oil into a cast iron skillet and heat on high heat for several minutes. Once the oil is very hot, fry the chicken (use a splatter guard), a few pieces at a time until golden brown. Place the fried chicken pieces on a paper towel. Note: Use a long handled spoon to fry the chicken and a splatter shield as the oil may splatter.
  • Make the corn starch slurry: In a small bowl, stir the corn starch with one tablespoon water until the mixture has a creamy consistency and no lumps. Set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and ginger. Fry until just fragrant and transparent about 20 seconds.
  • Add the red onion, green pepper and jalapeno peppers and fry for about 2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth, black pepper, white pepper, soy sauce, chili sauce and apple cider vinegar. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the corn starch slurry and stir into the sauce- let the sauce thicken - about 2 minutes, then add the honey and sesame oil. After about 1 minute, add the fried chicken and sliced shallots. Stir.
  • Serve immediately over hot rice. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Notes

Flour vs. corn starch:  In a pinch,  you can substitute flour for corn starch, I have found that corn starch results in a crunchier bite.  The corn starch also acts as a tenderizer for the chicken. Black vs. white pepper:  While you can use the two peppers interchangeably in some dishes, I have found that the presence of both types of peppers in the ratios mentioned, add to a very distinct taste.  Black pepper has a more spicy heat while white pepper is more earthy and floral. The need for a splatter guard: The oil does splatter while frying the chicken.  I use a screen splatter guard to make my life a little easier. Chicken cube size matters: A half inch chicken cube size seems to have the best ratio of spice/crunch to chicken for me.  It is important to make sure that the chicken cubes are cleanly cut so that they are not joined together in long clumps while frying. Cast iron pan vs. wok:  A wok is typically used for high heat Chinese cooking.  That being said, most homes do not have the high heat stove tops that are typically used in restaurants.  I like to use my cast iron pan because it retains heat better and stays very, very hot. Hot chicken broth:  The broth needs to be very hot when added to the cast iron pan so that the cooking temperature does not drop. Sequence matters:  The general sequence of the ingredients do matter as each ingredient builds on the flavor ingredient of the other. Need to prep:  The cooking occurs so fast that there is little time to prep while cooking.  Thus, it is advisable to have all the ingredients on hand when starting to cook the sauce. Use a long handled spoon:  This is high heat cooking - a long handled spoon with a spoon rest close to hand makes life a lot easier. No time to marinate:  If you have no time to marinate the chicken - make sure that the chicken cubes are cut to no more than ½ square inch.  Let the chicken marinade for a few minutes while you prep the sauce ingredients then begin. Best when served immediately:  I start the rice in the rice cooker right before I begin cooking the sauce so that the rice is fresh, hot and steaming as soon as I am done.  I have found that the dish does refrigerate well and while it won't be at its absolute best, will is still very tasty upon reheating.