Imagine a steaming and mild curry on a cold rainy day! This hearty Chinese chicken curry is one of the best comfort foods, which includes soft and tender chicken coated with a rich and creamy curry sauce. We might be familiar with curry in Indian cuisine, but did you know that many Asian countries have traditional curries too? While Indian curries are all about spices, Chinese curries are on the mild side and have a slurpy gravy-like texture.
This fantastic Chinese chicken curry recipe can be cooked in just 30 minutes with easy-to-find ingredients from your kitchen. Serve it on top of steaming white rice or rice noodles, and enjoy a delicious meal that tastes better than your average takeout.
Origin/History of Chinese Chicken Curries
The word ‘Chinese chicken curry’ has NO link with China. The word originated from Britishers in India. It is inextricably connected with the Indian Subcontinents. ‘Curry’ means gravy or sauce and is an anglicised version of the word ‘Kari,’ which is commonly used in Tamil.
The ingredients of Chinese curry are a bit different from Indian curry. The conventional Chinese curry is made from a combination of sugar, rice wine, and soya sauce while the Indian curry is made by the use of earthy spices like mustard, cumin, curry leaves, cardamom, star anise, etc.
Tenderise your meat in a nonmetallic bowl (check tips for more info).
Mix all the sauce ingredients with a whisk in a large cup or bowl. Dilute the chicken bullion with the water and add it to the sauce mix. You can add chicken stock or vegetable stock as well. Ensure that the stock is cold so the corn starch does not clump.
Slice the garlic and onion into small cubes and set aside. In a heavy-bottomed pan, place 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil and fry the onion until softened. You can add a pinch of salt to speed up this process.
Next, add the chicken and cook for three minutes, stirring it constantly. Add half a teaspoon of salt and half a cup of frozen peas.
Add the garlic, and immediately pour the prepared curry sauce into the pan while giving it a good store. Ensure to stir the sauce constantly, or it will get clumpy.
Once the sauce thickens and bubbles, stir it for another two minutes until the chicken is coated perfectly. Serve immediately with rice or noodles.
Chicken breast can feel a bit spongy or tough when cooked, and the best way to make your chicken soft is by tenderising it with some baking soda. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over the chicken, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Then wash it off with cold water, as baking soda can leave an unpleasant taste. Next, pat it dry using a paper towel.
You can always add extra vegetables like carrots, green beans, eggplant, mushrooms, bell peppers and cauliflower to your curry. Make sure to blanch, steam or fry them before adding them to the curry. This step will allow the vegetables to cook simultaneously with the chicken; excessive cooking can harden your chicken.
Add cold water to the sauce mixture as hot water can make the corn flour clump.
The sauce can thicken very quickly when cooked; if you like your sauce thinner, add a lesser quantity of cornstarch.
Don’t confuse baking soda with baking powder. Baking powder will not tenderise your meat but instead, make it a slimy mess.
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