Indo-chinese cuisine is a harmony of flavours and textures. It creates a sort of controlled chaos in my mouth. But that is why it is always a hit or miss for me. Most ingredients in an indo-chinese recipe needs to strike a balance depending on each individual’s preference. Thus the personal element in these recipes makes it even more difficult to standardise.
When my trusted curator, Preethi chechi, suggested this recipe, I was thrilled. I knew that she had done the research and I just had to blindly follow the same. Dragon Chicken is the right blend of hot, sweet and sour! It has every form of chilli and thus not for the faint hearted. This recipe is the closest that I have come across to an Indo-Chinese recipe that has consistently provided me with the same results . Its definitely worth the shot!!
P.S. For the healthier option, the first marinating & batter frying stage can be skipped.
You could also replace the chicken with prawns, fish or vegetables such as cauliflower, mushrooms and peppers.
HUNGER LOGIC: Maybe if I stare into the refrigerator long enough something good will magically appear!
Chicken – 250 gms
Egg White – 1*
Flour – 3 tbsp
Cornflour – 1 tbsp
Dark Soy Sauce – 1 tsp
Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
* if you are preparing for a larger quantity of chicken, 1 egg white is sufficient for almost 1kg.
Green Chilli – 1 (finely chopped)
Garlic – 3 cloves (finely chopped)
Spring Onions – 1 (finely chopped)
Chilli Flakes – 1 tsp
Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Tomato Sauce – 2 Tbsp
Soy Sauce – 2 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Ajinomotto (optional) -a pinch
Dried Red Chillies – 2
Cashew – 2 tsp (as per taste)
Honey – 1 tsp ( just enough to drizzle over)
Carrots – 1 Julienned/ thinly sliced (optional)
Peppers/ Capsicum -1/2 chopped (optional)
Marinate the Chicken with the ingredients for the marinade and set it aside for at least 30 minutes.
If you are increasing the quantity of chicken, increase all the ingredients except the egg white in the marinade proportionately. For almost 1 kg of Chicken, one egg white is sufficient.
Deep fry the chicken on a medium flame.
Keep the heat steady.
If you find that the chicken is browning too fast, reduce the heat. It has to reach a golden brown shade at a steady pace, else the chicken inside would remain under cooked.
As a vegetarian alternative you could use the cauliflower or mushroom and skip the egg whites. In this case you would only need to focus on the coating reaching a golden brown colour as the vegetable inside would cook very fast in the hot oil.
For a healthier alternative, you could completely skip this batter fry step and sauté raw ingredients such as chicken, prawns, mushrooms or vegetables of your choice in the sauce suggested below.
Preparation of the Sauce
Heat oil in a wok , deep dish or kadai . Sauté the dried red chillies and cashews for garnishing and set it aside.
In the same oil, sauté the finely chopped green chillies, garlic and the white part of the spring onions.
Add the chilli powder and chilli flakes.
Add the tomato sauce , soy sauce, Ajinomoto (optional) and sugar.
When the sauce starts to thicken, add the fried chicken and rest of the chopped spring onions (green part).
Top this with the fried cashew and dried red chilli.
You could add the julienned carrots and chopped peppers and give a stir if you like. This just adds an extra textured layer to the dish.
Drizzle a spoon of the honey over the dish.
This is a spicy dish , so the sugar and the honey strikes a right balance, I would suggest not to skip it.
For children, I would recommend skipping the chilly powder in the marinade or using Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika instead. My children prefer just the batter fried chicken sans the sauce.
Once the dish is prepared, if you find it too spicy add a little tomato sauce to reduce the heat.
If you think the dish needs a little more salt, add a splash of soy sauce.