Manchurian Chicken is so easy to make and the combination of ingredients is magical. This incredibly delicious dish has a secret ingredient: ketchup! You’ve got to trust me on this one—or rather trust cookbook guru Mark Bittman. Before you turn up your nose and click this post off into cyberland, please read on.
This dish will not taste like ketchup. When heated the condiment caramelizes and the garlic and cayenne pepper cause the sauce to take on a flavor much like General Tso’s chicken. Be sure not to over brown the chicken or it will get dry. Serve the dish over noodles or rice, if desired, along with broccoli.
Bittman’s inspiration for the chicken recipe came from Manchurian Cauliflower, a popular street food eaten from toothpicks in Calcutta’s Chinatown.
The florets are coated in egg and cornstarch before being fried and tossed in a sauce of ketchup, garlic and cayenne.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
- 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken, preferably dark meat, in 1/2- to 1-inch chunks
- ½ cup flour, more as needed
- 4 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons slivered garlic
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 cup ketchup
- Toss chicken pieces with flour to lightly dusted. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, on high heat. When oil smokes, add chicken in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- When chicken browns on one side, toss and cook until nearly done. Smaller pieces will take about 5 minutes; larger pieces about 10. Remove to a plate. Turn off heat and let pan cool.
- Add remaining oil to pan and turn heat to medium high. Add garlic and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add ketchup and stir; cook until ketchup bubbles and darkens slightly. Return chicken to pan and stir to coat with sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.