Dragon Chicken is a sweet and spicy, delicious Indo-Chinese side dish. This dragon chicken is made of boneless chicken along with a sweet and spicy thick sauce that makes the dish unique and tempting. It is one of the popular chicken stir fry dishes in Indo-Chinese cuisine for its rich flavor and taste. Dragon chicken can be a perfect side dish or starter for lunch and dinner which can be easily made at home when you crave a restaurant-style take-out.
What is Dragon Chicken?
Dragon chicken is a sweet and spicy Indo-Chinese restaurant-style dish. It is prepared with boneless chicken pieces, fiery red chili paste, and some Chinese sauces. Especially the garlic, bell peppers, and cashew nuts deliver unique sweet and spicy notes to this dish. And it is one of the ultimate chicken dishes that one could not resist.
This dragon chicken is one of the popular stir fry dishes or starters that one could find on the menu of most Indian Chinese restaurants and by street food vendors. And it is typically served along with fried rice, noodles, or sauces. Even though they are a typical restaurant-style dish, it is not that hard to make at home. And this post tells you all about how to make a perfect restaurants style dragon chicken from scratch.
Here's what you will need for making this Indo-Chinese dragon chicken from scratch.
- Chicken - Boneless chicken pieces work best for this dish. I have used bite-size chicken breast pieces, but you could also cut them into strips.
- Ginger Garlic - We need to marinate the chicken with ginger garlic paste and we will also require some chopped ginger and garlic for stir-frying. Both ingredients give a rich bold flavor and taste that would definitely turn this dish to the next level.
- Sauces - Soy sauce, ketchup, and chili paste are the main ingredients that you will need to make the final sauce. Since I wanted my dish to be slightly dry, I haven't used cornflour slurry. But you can use it if you are looking for more saucy dragon chicken
- Bell Peppers - Green, yellow or red peppers that give a crunchy and sweet note to your dish. You could either mix and match or can stick with one variety
- Cashew nuts, Dry red chilies - Stir-frying cashew nuts and dry red chilies give crunchy and spicy flavors to this particular recipe
- Egg- It helps the chicken to stay juicy after it is fried
- Flour - All-purpose flour and cornstarch give a nice outer coating to the chicken pieces. You could also coat the chicken with more cornflour than what I suggested in the recipe card for more crunchiness
How to make Dragon Chicken?
The recipe that I have shared here is a restaurant-style dragon chicken and it yields 3 servings. So let's see how to make this dish easily at home and it is totally worth investing your precious 30 minutes to make this finger-licking dish.
To give a clear outline, the process involves three parts.
- Marinating the chicken
- Frying the chicken
- Stir-frying with sauces
1. Marinating the chicken
Start with marinating the chicken with ginger garlic paste, sauces, pepper powder, egg, and flour. Give a nice mix. You could rest it for 10-15 minutes. Even though I skipped the resting step it turned out good for me. So you can either rest or fry straight away after marination.
2. Frying the chicken
Keep your pan on medium heat and pour oil. Once the oil is warm enough, add in the chicken pieces and fry for 3 to 5 minutes or until it turns golden brown color. And make sure to flip and fry on both sides.
I have pan-fried the chicken here, but you could also shallow or deep-fry them. Most importantly you can choose any neutral oil for making this dragon chicken. But stir-frying them in sesame oil gives a rustic and hearty flavor to the dish. And it is common to use sesame oil in most Chinese street foods to achieve an earthy taste and flavor to the dish.
3. Stir Fry
Now in the same pan with the remaining oil(only if you are pan-frying), add in the ginger, garlic, cashews, and dry red chili. Saute until everything turns slightly crispy. And it is important not to burn them to enjoy the fresh flavors.
After that, add in your favorite bell peppers and stir fry until they turn slightly soft yet crispy. Then add soy sauce, chili paste, and ketchup and give a nice mix. At this stage, you can include cornflour slurry to make a saucy dragon chicken. I haven't added it, since I was looking for something semi-dry for that day's lunch.
Now goes in the fried chicken and mix well to incorporate them. Finally, garnish with spring onions and remove from heat. I have served it with Vegetable Fried Rice and kids' favorite ketchup and you can also enjoy it over rice or soups of your choice.
Variations in Dragon chicken
This dragon chicken is easy to customize and has a lot of variations.
- Change the sauce - You could also use hoisin sauce, vinegar, and chicken stock to make the sauce and skip the bell peppers from the recipe list to make a tasty General Tso Chicken
- Crunchiness -Even though cashew nuts are added for crunchiness, they can also be replaced with white sesame seeds to get a similar result
- For vegetarian or vegan versions - Replace the chicken with cauliflower to make an ultimate plant-based dish
- Air-fryer - You could also fry the chicken pieces in the air fryer. To do that, preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place the marinated chicken pieces in a single layer in the basket. Spray or brush some oil and fry for 15 minutes. And once the cycle is done, remove and stir fry as shown in the recipe card below
- Ingredients - The key to perfect Chinese dragon chicken is to use the right quantity of ingredients and cook it for the desired time
- For best flavor - Marinating, frying, and stir-frying the ingredients are important to achieve the best results
- Adjust the spice - Even though I have used chili paste in moderate quantity, you could increase it to satisfy your craving for spicy Chinese chicken foods
- No MSG - You could also use red chili oil which gives an extra flavor to this particular dish. Even though restaurants use Ajinomoto or MSG to elevate the taste of the dragon chicken, I totally avoided it to make a healthier version of it
- For Authentic Flavor - Using sesame oil gives an earthy flavor to this dragon chicken while you can also feel free to use any neutral flavor oil
This Indo-Chinese Dragon chicken tastes best when served warm. So I would recommend enjoying it as fresh as possible.
Dragon chicken tastes great on its own as a starter or snack. But it tastes even more delicious when served over rice dishes such as white rice, basmati rice, brown rice, fried rice, sticky rice, or jasmine rice. It also makes the perfect combo with Vegetable Soup, Egg fried rice, and Chicken Fried rice.
You could also similar recipes below and more at Chicken Recipes.
- Chicken Manchurian
- Chilli Chicken
- Szechuan Chicken
- KFC Popcorn Chicken
- Chicken Lollipop
- Orange Chicken
- Panang Curry
Craving more restaurant-style Indo-Chinese Recipes, then you may like the Collection of Indo-Chinese Recipes which is better than expensive takeout dishes.
Dragon Chicken Recipe Video
I have also shared the detailed video of this Dragon chicken recipe that I hope it will help you to make a perfect restaurant-style dish at home. For a quick reference, you could also find this dragon chicken recipe in story format.
- 1½ lb Chicken, boneless
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 1 tsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Chili Paste
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Ginger, chopped
- 2 tsp Garlic, chopped
- 4 Red Chili, dry
- 2 tsp Cashew Nuts
- ¼ cup Oil
- ¼ cup Green Bell Pepper
- ¼ cup Yellow Bell Pepper
- 1 tbsp Chili Paste
- 1 tsp Ketchup
- 1 tsp Soy Sauce
- Spring Onions, to garnish
- Chili Oil, optional
To Marinate the Chicken
- In a bowl, add boneless chicken pieces, ginger garlic paste, salt, soy sauce, chili paste, pepper powder, egg, all-purpose flour, and corn starch. Mix everything well and rest for 10 to 15 minutes
To Fry the Chicken
- In a pan with medium heat, add ¼ cup of oil and place the marinated chicken pieces one by one and cook for 3 to 5 minutes
- Flip and fry for another 5 minutes or until it turns golden brown in color
- Drain the fried chicken pieces from the pan and reserve for later use
To Make the Dragon Chicken
- In the same pan with the remaining oil, add chopped ginger, garlic, dry red chili, cashew nuts, and saute until cashew turns crispy
- Now add the onion and saute until it turns soft
- Add the green and yellow bell peppers and stir fry for 2 minutes
- Now add soy sauce, ketchup, chili paste and give a nice mix
- Add the fried chicken and give a good mix
- Finally, garnish with spring onions and now the dragon chicken is ready for you to taste and enjoy
- Serve this delicious dragon chicken with fried rice, jeera rice, or noodles of your choice
Chef's Notes and Tips
- Always make sure to use boneless chicken pieces which work best for this particular recipe
- I have only pan-fried the chicken pieces here, but you can also shallow fry or deep fry them
- Cashew nuts used here gives a nice flavor and taste to the dish and you can also use sesame seeds to achieve a similar taste
- I have used a moderate quantity of red chili paste, but you can increase it to achieve a fiery red hot dragon chicken. You can also use red chili oil to give a glowing look to your dish
- Even though restaurants use Ajinomoto to elevate the taste of the dragon chicken, I totally avoided it to make bit healthier
- This Indo-Chinese Dragon chicken tastes great with fried rice, noodles, soups, sticky, basmati rice, or just as it is a starter
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Dragon chicken is a delicious and popular Indo-Chinese starter or side dish. It is usually prepared with flavor-coated fried chicken that is stir-fried in spicy and sour Chinese sauces. It is usually served with fried rice, sticky rice, noodles, or soup.
Both the chicken recipes are somewhat similar in their look but the dragon chicken has slightly varied its spice level when compared to chili chicken. Usually, dragon chicken is stir-fried in fiery hot chili paste and tempered with cashew nuts and dry red chilies for extra crunchiness.
Any neutral oil works well for this recipe. And you can also use sesame oil for more earthy and rustic flavors as most Chinese stir-fries do.
Dragon chicken tastes great with Chinese fried rice, noodles, or soups. And it also tastes great with plain white rice, sticky rice, basmati rice, or just as a starter or snack.
I really hope you enjoyed the recipe that I have shared here and I would love to hear from you about how it turned out for you. Please let me know.
If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
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