My Nano’s Foolproof Chicken Manchurian Recipe

I call my grandmother from my maternal side my nano, which is an Urdu title. Believe me, her cooking is mean—basically, I end up succumbing to the monster in my stomach (a belief my aunt seems to have) and don’t just help myself to seconds and thirds, but fourths as well. Out of all the delectable dishes she can make (which are a lot, to say the least), her Chicken Manchurian recipe is one of my favourites. This is not the original pan-Asian chicken Manchurian recipe but it’s a taste I’m familiar with and absolutely love. So, I decided to make it myself—after replaying my grandmother’s voice messages several times, trying to make sure I got all the details right. I then, served the gravy with vegetable fried rice and mashed potatoes!

Click here to take a look at the mashed potatoes recipe.


  • 1/2 kg Boneless Chicken (Breast)
  • 3 tbsp Cornflour
  • 2 tbsp Soya sauce
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 serving spoons of cooking oil
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 serving spoons of tomato puree
  • 3-4 green chilis (because I hate it when recipes say 3-4 or 5-6, I’ll elaborate; 3 green chilis if you like it slightly less spicy and more towards the sweet side, and 4 green chilis if you want that slight kick of spice).


  1. Cut the chicken into squares. I prefer the chicken to be cut into really tiny pieces.
  2. Make the marinade. Put the chicken pieces into a bowl and starting adding the following ingredients: 2 tbsp Cornflour (dry, which means you don’t have to mix it in water), 2 tbsp soya sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Mix this well.
  3. Refrigerate the chicken for 2 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can refrigerate this for 1 hour too but 2 hours allow for a better taste.
  4. Pour the oil into a saucepan. Do this only after you take the chicken out of the fridge. Placing the saucepan on a low flame should be alright.
  5. Add the garlic and ginger paste. Do this once the oil starts heating up and sauté (which basically means to fry in poil) the ginger and garlic paste until the it turns brown.
  6. Fry the chicken on a medium flame for 10 minutes. This time frame is perfect but you can go down to 7 minutes. Just make sure that the chicken pieces are almost fully cooked.
  7. Add the water into the saucepan. This is for the gravy.
  8. Add the tomato puree.
  9. Slice the green chilis very finely and add it into the gravy.
  10. Mix in 1 tbsp of cornflour (after mixing it well in a little bit of water). By little bit of water, I mean just add 1 tbsp and see if the Cornflour dissolves into it. If it doesn’t, keep adding a little bit of water until the mixture is liquid-y and the Cornflour is no longer sticky or lumpy.
  11. Cook the gravy over a low flame. Let this cook for another 15-ish minutes or until you feel like the gravy has fully cooked. Stir the ingredients well so that everything mixes together.
  12. Optional: Add the remaining 1/4 tsp salt. I felt that my gravy lacked a bit of salt and so, I added some more. This last step is only according to taste, so if you think the gravy’s missing something (e.g. black pepper or salt), then make sure to add some!

Some weird-quality visuals

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