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Chinese Chicken Curry

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You can make this takeout style Chinese chicken curry in less than 20 minutes.

Every Chinese takeaway has Chinese chicken curry on the menu. It’s one of the most popular items on many menus and you can easily make it at home.

In fact, this recipe will get you better than Chinese takeout results. Although Chinese chicken curry is usually served quite mild, you can add Chinese chilli flakes to taste to spice it up some or even add thinly sliced fresh chillies.

Chinese chicken curry

What is Chinese chicken curry? 

Chinese chicken curry is a popular and delicious dish Indian influences. It is not a traditional Chinese dish but rather a variation created to suit local tastes, especially in Chinese restaurants outside of China. 

What ingredients go into this curry?

There are of course many variations but my recipe and many others include the following:

  • Chicken: Usually boneless and skinless chicken pieces, cut into bite-sized cubes.
  • Curry Sauce:
    • Curry Powder: A blend of spices that may include turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, and other aromatic spices. Chinese curry powder is perfect for this recipe or curry powder with a little five spice powder
    • Chicken Stock: Adds depth to the sauce.
    • Soy Sauce: For umami and saltiness.
    • Garlic and Ginger: Freshly minced for flavor.
    • Onions: Sliced or diced onions for sweetness and texture.
    • Vegetables (optional): Common additions include peas and/or carrots.
  • Thickening Agent:
    • Cornstarch or Flour: To thicken the curry sauce.
  • Oil: For sautéing and cooking the chicken and vegetables.

What is the history of Chinese chicken curry?

I find the history of different dishes like this Chinese chicken curry interesting. Curry isn’t traditionally a Chinese dish so how did it become so popular?

Here’s a general overview of how the history of Chinese chicken curry might have unfolded:

  1. Colonial Influence: During the British colonial era, which lasted from the 19th century until the mid-20th century, Indian immigrants brought their culinary traditions to various parts of Southeast Asia, including China. As a result, Indian spices, including curry powder, made their way into local cuisines.
  2. Adaptation in Chinese Cuisine: Chinese chefs adapted the use of curry powder to create dishes that would appeal to local tastes. This adaptation gave rise to Chinese-style curries that incorporate traditional Chinese cooking techniques and ingredients along with Indian spices.
  3. Popularization in Chinese Restaurants: Chinese chicken curry, along with other variations such as beef or vegetable curry, became popular in Chinese restaurants, especially in Western countries. These dishes cater to a taste for flavourful, mildly spiced dishes that are not as intensely hot as some authentic Indian curries.
  4. Globalization and Culinary Fusion: With increasing globalization and the blending of culinary traditions, Chinese chicken curry became a staple in many Chinese restaurants outside of China. Its popularity grew, and it it is now a go-to dish for those seeking a fusion of Chinese and Indian flavours.

How long can you keep this curry in the fridge?

You can store Chinese chicken curry in the fridge for at least three days. In fact, as it sits, the flavours will develop and the curry will be even better. To heat it up, just add it to a hot wok or microwave it.

Can you freeze this curry?

Yes. If you are preparing this curry to freeze for later, I recommend not adding the coconut milk. Coconut milk does not freeze well and it can be added when you heat it up to serve. 

Freeze in portion sizes that are convenient for you.

Should you add the MSG?

This is completely up to you. Monosodium glutamate  (MSG) is a flavour enhancer that is used at many Chinese restaurants and takeaways. It received a lot of bad press but is approved for human consumption and I like it.

You can leave it out if you like. I wrote a short page about MSG here and there is a lot of good information about it on Google if you need help deciding.

Step by step photographs.

Ingredients for Chinese chicken curry

Get all of your ingredients together before you start cooking.

The prepared marinade in a bowl.

Whisk the liquid marinade ingredients together with the cornflour (corn starch).

The chicken marinating in a bowl.

Add the chicken to the marinade and allow it to marinate for 20 minutes to 4 hours.

Frying the chicken in a wok.

When ready to cook, place your wok over a high heat and add the oil. When it begins to glisten, add the chicken.

Fried chicken on a paper towel.

For best results, fry the chicken in small batches. Transfer the cooked chicken to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

Frying the garlic, ginger and spring onions (scallions) in a wok.

If need, add a little more oil and fry the garlic, ginger and spring onions (scallions) for about 30 seconds.

Adding and frying the sliced onions and carrots.

Stir in the sliced onions and carrots and fry for another 2 minutes, stirring and tossing your wok regularly.

Adding curry powder to the ingredients in the wok.

Add the curry powder and stir it in.

Adding the chicken stock and coconut milk to the wok.

Add the chicken stock and coconut milk. For a creamier curry, you could add more coconut milk. I stirred a tsp of five spice too. 

Adding the fried chicken to the simmering sauce.

Bring the sauce to a simmer and then return the chicken to the pan.

Adding the slurry to the sauce to thicken.

Begin drizzling the slurry into the sauce. The more you add, the thicker the sauce will become. Do this to your own preference.

Chinese chicken curry

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add MSG if you like too. Serve hot with white rice.

Chinese chicken curry

Dig in!

If you like this curry, you might like to try some of the following Chinese too!

I am adding new Chinese recipes to my blog regularly so be sure to check out the Chinese section often. For now, why not try some of these Chinese-American classics?

  1. General Tso’s Chicken
  2. Crispy Chicken and Broccoli
  3. Salt and Pepper Chicken
  4. Sesame Chicken
  5. Sweet and Sour Chicken
  6. Kung Pao Chicken
  7. Dan Dan Noodles
  8. Orange Chicken
  9. Hainan Chicken
  10. Spicy Chicken Chow Mein
  11. Mongolian Beef
  12. Chinese Crispy Beef
  13. Egg Drop Soup
  14. Spicy Won Ton Soup
  15. Egg Fried Rice
  16. Potstickers

Have you tried this Chinese chicken curry recipe?

If yes, please give it a star rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.


Yield: 4

Chinese Chicken Curry

Chinese chicken curry

This is a Chinese restaurant style chicken curry. It's a mild curry but feel free to spice it up to taste by adding Chinese dried chilli flakes or thinly sliced fresh chillies.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 2 tbsp cornflour (corn starch)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp dark rice wine vinegar
  • 700g (1 ½ lbs.) chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil or peanut oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped]
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, quartered and divided into petals
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 tbsp Chinese curry powder or 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp mild curry powder and 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 500ml (2 cups) hot chicken stock
  • 70ml (1/4 cup) thick coconut milk
  • 1 tsp MSG (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (corn starch) mixed with 2 tbsp water to make a thick slurry
  • 300g (2 cups) Frozen Peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together and add the chicken pieces. Mix well to combine so that all of the chicken pieces are coated with the marinade. Allow to marinate for an hour or overnight or just go straight to cooking. The longer marinating times will give the chicken more depth of flavour.
  2. Place your wok on a high heat and add the oil. When the oil begins to glisten, add the marinated chicken. You want to cook the chicken in one layer so don’t overcrowd your wok and cook in two batches if necessary. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Now add the garlic, ginger and spring onions (scallions) and fry for about 30 seconds. Add the onion petals and sliced carrot and fry, stirring continuously for two minutes to give the onions a good char.
  4. Stir in the curry powder and then pour in the chicken stock, soy sauce and coconut milk and bring it to a simmer. Stir in the MSG if using. Slowly add the slurry to thicken the sauce. You may not need it all. Just add it until you are happy with the consistency of the sauce.
  5. Return the chicken to the wok and let it simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the peas. Let the peas cook through for a minute and the season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 676mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 6gSugar: 7gProtein: 14g

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