Bengali Chinese chicken is a delicious fusion of Bangladeshi and Chinese food that is completely unique and not like either. It’s a comforting dish perfect for sick days or an easy meal—packed full of nutrients and protein through chicken and vegetables.
There are many places on South Asia that have fishes inspired by their interpretation of Chinese food. For example, there is Bengali Chinese food and Indo-Chinese. Each is a unique fusion of flavors are methods that are completely d different from their original counterparts.
This quick and easy dish is so simple to put together. The chicken is super tender due to a marinating trick, the vegetables are soft and sweet, and it’s all served in a savory sauce that’s full of flavor.
How to ensure a super tender chicken?
To begin, slice chicken breast thinly across the grain. This means finding the direction the the muscle fibers run in any piece of meat and slicing the opposite direction. This is the first step to ensuring a tender bite of meat.
Mix the chicken with baking soda and set aside. It’s best not to skip this step! The baking soda breaks down the meat and makes it so soft. It’s a trick used by many Asian restaurants to achieve super tender meat-such as the kind you find in dishes like Chinese beef and broccoli or Chinese chicken/beef fried rice. Try on other meats too! Such as beef or chicken in stir fries and noodles.
Preparing the dish
While chicken in tenderizing, prepare all the rest of the ingredients. Chop all the vegetables including onions, garlic, carrot, celery, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and zucchini. Set aside. Keep the zucchini in a separate dish as it will be added closer to the end when the other vegetables are mostly done. Zucchini cooks so quickly that if you add it with the rest of the vegetables it will completely melt! You can also use other vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, and other squashes.
After the vegetables are ready, mix together the cornstarch slurry by combining 1:1 ratio of corn starch and water and set aside.
Rinse the chicken in water very well until all the baking soda is cleaned off. You may have to rinse several times until the water runs clear. Drain completely and add salt and black pepper. Mix the chicken well. Then heat a pan on high heat and add oil. Neutral oil works best, such as avocado or grape seed oil. However I have even made this with olive oil and it comes out delicious.
Once the oil is shimmering hot, add the chicken and let sit for a minute or two before mixing-this will help ensure a nice golden sear. If the pan is not big enough to hold all the chicken in an even layer, fry it in batches instead. An overcrowded pan will reduce the heat of the pot and the chicken will boil instead of sear.
Remove chicken from heat. Then add in all the vegetables except the zucchini! The zucchini cook the quickest so to avoid it from melting while the rest of the veggies cook, it’s best to add it in closer to the end.
Season vegetables with salt, black pepper, and chicken stock cube. Mix well, then cook on medium high until vegetables start to turn tender. Add in zucchini and continue to cook, covered, until vegetables reach your desired tenderness. It’s best to keep them with a slight bite for some texture.
Add chicken back in. while it is warming through, add cornstarch slurry and a zip of water. Mix well and let it simmer until it reaches the desired thickness.
What to do if sauce is too thick or thin:
If the sauce is too thick, add an extra splash of water! Let it come to a simmer once again, then turn off the heat and serve.
If the sauce is too thin, mix together another slurry (1 tablespoon corn starch with 1 tbsp water), add it in, mix well, bring to a simmer, then turn off heat and serve.
Can I use different vegetables?
You can certainly use different vegetables! Just keep in mind the different cook times each vegetable has, and add the vegetables either sooner or later depending on that.
What can I use besides chicken?
You can honestly use any protein you like-or none at all! This would make an excellent vegetarian dish. Or it can be made with thinly sliced beef, or shrimp, or even tofu.
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 2 lb chicken breast, sliced thinly
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 carrot, sliced thinly
- 2 stick celery, cut
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 cup chicken stock or 1 cup water with a chicken stock cube
1. Mix together sliced chicken and baking soda and let marinate for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse with water until it runs clear
2. Mix cleaned chicken with salt and black pepper
3. Heat oil in a pot on high heat and add chicken in batches to sear
4. Remove chicken and set aside
5. To the same pot on medium high heat, add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and green bell pepper. Season with salt, chicken stock cube, and black pepper
6. Stir and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables start to turn tender. Add zucchini and cover. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes
7. Mix together cornstarch with 2 tbsp water to make cornstarch slurry and add to pot. Mix well then add 1 cup water. Mix again.
8. Add chicken and bring the pot to a simmer. Simmer gently, until desired thickness is reached* then remove from heat
9. Serve with warm jasmine rice and enjoy!
* If dish it too watery make another cornstarch slurry with 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp water and add to pot. If dish if too thick, add more water.