Chicken is undoubtedly the most versatile of all the meats or any other non-vegetarian food product in the world. It is the least difficult to cook, very few people have allergies to chicken or chicken products and almost everyone prefers chicken when it comes to trying out non-vegetarian dishes. Chicken is also the easiest to preserve and rarely goes bad easily, unlike red meat, and it also has some benefits and is nowhere near as harmful to the body as red meats or sea foods. That is why chicken is so popular in most cuisines when it comes to non-vegetarian dishes.
This is also the case in India, where, although most dishes are traditionally vegetarian, people almost always prefer choosing chicken when it comes to non-vegetarian dishes, and chicken also features heavily in some state cuisines like traditional Punjabi, Bengali and Lucknow and Hyderabadi styles of cooking.
In India, Chinese cuisine is predominantly available in restaurants and eateries, and this trend has continued for several years, with most people’s favourite dishes being fried rice and the classic chilli chicken and Szechuan chicken. But, over the years, due to its popularity in India, many chefs and cooks have tried to put their own twist on traditional Chinese and oriental dishes, resulting in a new type of fusion cuisine called Indo-Chinese cuisine. Indian Chinese cuisine, popularly called ‘Hakka Chinese’, has been said to be popularized by the large native Chinese population in Kolkata over the last 100 years. And one of the most popular non-vegetarian dishes of this cuisine is Chicken Manchurian.
Chicken manchurian is the perfect amalgamation of Indian cooking techniques and traditional Chinese spices, making it a perfect example of Indo-Chinese cuisine. It is basically a dish of chicken and vegetables mixed together and presented in a spicy brown sauce, served as a side dish to either fried rice or noodles.
It is prepared by making a batter of corn flour, salt, pepper and beaten eggs, and then coating small cubed pieces of chicken in that batter and deep frying those pieces till they are golden brown. Next, the gravy or the manchurian sauce is prepared by frying ginger and garlic in the same oil and adding chillies, and coriander leaves, and finally adding water, soya sauce, salt, pepper and sugar to make finish it. Instead of water, it is recommended to use chicken stock (made by straining the water after boiling chicken pieces in it), so as to make the flavour better. To this, corn flour is added to make the gravy thicker, and finally the fried pieces of chicken are added, and cooked, to complete the dish. It may be garnished with a few sprinkles of coriander leaves and chopped spring onions. This dish is best served with fried rice or Chinese noodles.
Chinese cuisine is undoubtedly the most famous foreign cuisine served in restaurants and hotels across India, and the advent of the Indian Chinese fusion cuisine has helped boost its popularity even more. And chicken manchurian serves as its most prominent example.