This fantastic Chinese Chicken curry comes together in under 30 minutes and tastes just like your favorite takeout or takeaway.
The tender chicken is coated in a rich curry sauce that uses easy to find ingredients. Plus you can make this Chinese chicken curry as spicy or as mild as you like.
Perfect for serving over white rice or noodles. If Chinese curry is one of your favorite comfort foods, then this recipe is for you.
A Chinese Curry
The word curry is usually associated with Indian cuisine; however, curry is eaten in many Asian countries, and each has its own fabulous interpretation.
This Chinese curry is quite a mild gravy style curry, although you can add chopped chilies, red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper to give it more spice. The curry gravy is flavored with curry powder, turmeric, a pinch of Chinese 5 spice, and a little soy sauce. The finished curry sauce is thickened with cornstarch, so it gets that familiar takeout consistency.
Getting the tender takeaway style chicken
Let me guess that the chicken you get from your favorite takeout place is so tender! It almost melts in the mouth. The trick is how they tenderize the meat. They call it velveting the chicken as it makes the chicken soft like velvet.
My preferred method for tenderizing meat for Chinese dishes is to use baking soda. Baking soda. Also known as bicarb of soda, bicarbonate of soda, and sodium bicarbonate. Don't get it muddled with baking powder that won't tenderize your meat and will leave everything slimy!
To use baking soda, you sprinkle a small amount over the chicken and then stir to coat. Then let the chicken sit for 15 minutes before washing it in cold water to remove the baking soda. It does need to be washed well, as baking soda doesn't have a pleasant taste!
Once the chicken is well washed, pat the chicken dry before you fry it to ensure it doesn't sweat as you cook it.
To read about the science of using baking soda to tenderize chicken check out my post for Takeout Style Chicken and Snow Pea.
Can I add vegetables to my curry?
You sure can! Usually, from the takeout, you get peas in your curry. But there is nothing to stop you adding plenty of extra veg.
Veg you might want to add:
- Bell Pepper
- Snow Peas
- Green Beans
With all of the veg, steam, blanch, or fry them off first, so they are partially cooked before you add them to the curry. Add them, once you have added the chicken to give them time to cook in the hot sauce.
Can you freeze?
Unfortunately, sauces thickened with cornstarch don't freeze well. They come out more liquid and not as thick. It doesn't affect the flavor of the dish, just the consistency.
The curry will keep for three days in the refrigerator. You can either reheat in the microwave or in a small pan on the cooktop.
What to serve with it
Serve this chicken curry with:
- Plain white rice
- Brown rice
- Egg fried rice
- Soy sauce fried rice
- Scallion noodles
- Mantou steamed buns
For more takeout inspired dishes try:
- Takeout Style Chinese Chicken and Mushrooms
- Beef and Broccoli
- Ginger Shrimp Stir Fry
- Happy Family Stir Fry
- Beef and Tomato
- Wandering Dragon Stir Fry
- Chicken and Snow Peas
Easy Chinese Chicken Curry
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 ½ tablespoon baking soda - see note 1
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoon oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup frozen peas
For the sauce
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth, cold - see note 2
- 1 tablespoon Chinese Cooking Wine - see note 3
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- pinch Chinese five spice
- 1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch
Start with tenderizing the chicken
- Cut the chicken into small pieces.
- Place chicken a bowl (non-metallic) and sprinkle with the baking soda, stir gently to coat all of the chicken. Then cover and let the chicken marinate for 15 minutes.
2 chicken breasts
1 ½ tablespoon baking soda
- Use cold water to wash off the baking soda. Then rinse the chicken several times under running water. (See note 4)
- Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper and set to one side.
Next, make the sauce.
- Add all the sauce ingredients into a large measuring cup/jug and stir well. Ensure the broth is cold to stop the cornstarch from clumping.
1 ½ cups cold chicken broth
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoon curry powder
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
pinch Chinese love spice
1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch
For the stir fry
- Pour the oil into a heavy-based frying pan and place over high heat.
1 ½ tablespoon oil
- While the oil is heating up, peel and roughly chop the onion and slice the garlic.
1 clove garlic
- Add the onion to the pan and stir fry for 2 minutes until softened and slightly colored.
- Add the rinsed and dried chicken to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly—season with salt.
½ teaspoon salt
- Add the frozen peas and cook further 2 minutes.
½ cup frozen peas
- Add the sliced garlic.
- Immediately after adding the garlic, give the prepared curry sauce a good stir, and then pour it into the pan. The sauce will bubble and start to thicken. Stir it well to coat your chicken and cook for 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
- Baking soda is also known as bicarb of soda, bicarbonate of soda, and sodium bicarbonate. Don't get it muddled with baking powder as that won't tenderize your meat.
- Make sure the broth/stock is cold, this will ensure that the cornstarch/cornflour dissolves fully and doesn't clump together.
- You can buy Chinese cooking wine in the Asian section of the grocery store, but if you can't find it, then you can use dry sherry.
- Make sure you wash the chicken really well to remove any traces of baking soda. It is incredible at tenderizing meat but has a terrible taste, so you want to remove it.
- The sauce thickens quickly to that real thick Chinese takeout style sauce. If you aren't a fan of the thick coating takeaway style sauces, then you can reduce the quantity of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon if you just want a thinner sauce.
Made it today. My husband and I loved it. Easy and good recipe. Could you substitute coconut milk for the chicken broth?
Claire McEwen says
So happy you enjoyed the curry. I think you could definitely substitute some or all of the chicken broth for coconut milk.
Turned out to be very good.
Claire McEwen says
I am so pleased you enjoyed the curry Steve.
Don’t normally comment on things but by god this deserves it. Been hunting for ages to get a good Chinese curry recipe and this one did not fail. Give it a try you won’t be disappointed
Claire McEwen says
Oh Mary! This made my day!!
Thank you so much, I am so pleased the recipe was a hit 🙂
Thank you Claire, my two favorites together...chinese and curry!
Huge hit in our house tonight, two teenagers and husband absolutely loved it
Claire McEwen says
Oh I am so pleased they enjoyed it Karen, it is always a hit with my kids too 🙂