This Indo-Chinese dragon chicken is quick and easy to prepare. So good!
There’s no doubt about it, Indo-Chinese food is popular all over India and dragon chicken is a firm favourite. This can be made in less than 30 minutes and is the perfect starter course for any Indian or Chinese meal. Other vegetables can also be added such as baby sweetcorn, sliced red onion or cherry tomatoes but the recipe I have for you here is how dragon chicken is most often served.
What is dragon chicken?
Dragon chicken is a popular Indo-Chinese dish that combines elements of Chinese and Indian cuisines. It is a spicy and flavourful chicken dish known for its vibrant red colour and fiery taste. Dragon chicken is often served as an appetizer or as a side dish with rice or noodles.
The dragon chicken sauce is typically made with a combination of ingredients such as soy sauce, chilli sauce, ketchup, garlic, ginger, spring onions (scallions) and various spices. You cook the sauce until it thickens and coats the chicken pieces, giving them a glossy and sticky texture. The sauce is usually spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet, creating a perfect balance of flavours.
Can you work ahead?
Yes. All of the preparation work can be done a couple of days ahead of cooking. You can also marinate the chicken for up to 4 hours. Any longer and it could become a bit mushy.
You can even fry up the cashews and prepare the sauce a couple of days ahead of cooking. Then just heat it up and add the fried chicken.
For best results, you should fry the chicken right before adding it to the sauce. It will be much crispier that way.
How long does dragon chicken keep in the fridge?
You can keep leftover dragon chicken in the fridge for about 3 days. It will not be as crispy as the first time around but it will still be nice
Can you freeze dragon chicken?
Yes. You just need to let it cool completely and then store in an air-tight container or freezer bag. You can freeze it for up to 3 months with little loss of flavour.
The crispy texture will be gone but the flavour should still be there and very enjoyable.
How do you reheat dragon chicken?
As the crispiness will be pretty much gone when you reheat your dragon chicken, you can just heat it up in the microwave. That’s the easiest way and from my tests, just as good as heating it up in a pan. That too is an option though.
- Marinate for Flavourful Chicken: Marinating the chicken is key to infusing it with delicious flavours. You don’t want to over marinate the chicken though. Let it sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Achieve Crispy Texture: To achieve a crispy texture for dragon chicken, it’s essential that your oil is hot enough. Adding your chicken to oil that is not hot enough will result in soggy chicken that isn’t at all crispy. You can check the cooking temperature by sticking a wooden chopstick or spatula in the oil. If thousands of little bubbles form on contact with the oil, your oil is ready.
- Balance the Flavours: Dragon chicken is known for its spicy and tangy flavors. Achieve a well-balanced taste by adjusting the amount of heat and tanginess according to your preference. You can add more chilli sauce or red pepper flakes to make it spicier, or add vinegar or lime juice to the sauce to enhance the tanginess. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you cook to find the perfect balance of flavors.
Step by step photographs
How do you know when the oil is hot enough for cooking?
You can easily check the heat of your oil by sticking a wooden chop stick or wooden spatula in it. If thousands of little bubbles form around it on contact, your oil is ready for cooking.
Don’t add the chicken if the oil is not up to heat or it will stew and become soggy rather than crisp up.
- FOR THE MARINADE
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
- 3 tbsp corn flour (corn starch)
- FOR THE DRAGON CHICKEN
- 450g (1lb) chicken breasts, sliced into long strips against the grain or cubed
- 12 cashews
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, finely chopped
- 3 spring onions (scallions) finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes (more or less to taste)
- 1 red bell pepper or the equivalent of red, green and yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 70ml ketchup
- 1 tsp honey
- 70ml (1/4 cup) chicken stock or water
- 1 tbsp Asian chilli sauce or any chilli sauce you like
- Lime juice of vinegar (optional and to taste)
- Whisk all of the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth with no lumps. Add the chicken strips or cubes and mix them into the marinade until completely coated. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes up to 2 hours or just carry on with the recipe. The longer marination time will add to the flavour.
- When ready to cook, heat about 7.5cm (3 inches) of rapeseed (canola) oil in a large wok or frying pan over a medium high heat. The oil is ready for frying when thousands of little bubbles form around a wooden spatula or chopstick on contact with the oil.
- Carefully add the chicken to the oil and fry for a few minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Discard all but about 3 tbsp of the oil or filter it through a cloth to use for other frying.
- Heat the remaining oil over a medium high heat and stir in the cashews. Stir for about a minute, browning them all over and then stir in the chopped garlic, ginger and spring onions.
- Continue stirring for about a minute and then add the chilli flakes and bell pepper. Fry for about a minute to soften some and then stir in the soy sauce, ketchup, honey and stock or water. Bring this to a simmer. This will help cook the bell pepper through and will also become the sauce.
- Add the fried chicken and stir well to coat. The sauce should literally stick to the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds to serve. You can add a little vinegar or lime juice to the sauce, to taste, for a tarter flavour. Dragon chicken is usually served just like this as a starter but you could make it into a more substantial meal by serving it over steamed rice.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 399Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 3253mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 17gProtein: 14g