This quick Chinese takeout-style chicken curry is so easy to make, with just 9 staple ingredients and 15 minutes in the kitchen. But that small investment in time yields big rewards—an incredibly flavorful curry stir-fry with lots of tasty sauce!
When I was growing up, my family would drive through Manhattan’s Chinatown at least once a month, whether it was for weekend dim sum, visiting family, or just heading into the city. We’d drive in via the Holland Tunnel, and in minutes, we’d be surrounded by familiar Chinese restaurants and seemingly endless fruit and vegetable vendors.
On the way out of the city at the end of the day, we had a pretty reliable tradition of stopping off at one of Chinatown’s mainstay takeout restaurants (like NY Noodletown) to order dinner to take home. My sister would go for the Cantonese roast meats—Char Siu Pork, Soy Sauce Chicken, and Roast Pork Belly. My mom would get braised beef with tofu, and my dad would order a special seafood congee with lots of scallions and ginger.
As you can probably tell from all the links above, we’ve covered several of these favorite dishes on our blog. But we haven’t yet covered one of my favorites—a really quick takeout-style Chicken Curry, served over lots of steamed rice.
Chicken curry was one of the dishes that I always looked forward to on any trip to Chinatown, and it’s actually incredibly easy to make. You only need a handful of ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your pantry or refrigerator, and it takes 15 minutes flat to prepare.
Just make sure to wear an apron or a black t-shirt, and use metal (as opposed to wood or bamboo) utensils to stir-fry this chicken curry dish. The turmeric and curry powder can leave stains. But of course, the risk is totally worth it.
Takeout Chicken Curry: Recipe Instructions
In a medium bowl, combine the sliced chicken breast, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. For more information and preparing chicken for stir fries, see my dad’s post on Chicken velveting 101.
Heat your wok over high heat until smoking. Add a couple tablespoons of oil, and then add the chicken to the pan in one layer. Stir-fry the chicken just until it turns opaque, and remove from the wok. Set aside.
Combine the remaining 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water and mix until the cornstarch is dissolved. Stir it into the curry and stock mixture, and simmer for 1 minute, until thickened. If the sauce isn’t thick enough, add more cornstarch slurry. If it’s too thick, add more chicken stock.
For more detailed information on the many ways to use cornstarch to get authentic results at home with our recipes, see our post on How to Use Cornstarch in Chinese Cooking.
Add the cooked chicken back to the wok, and stir for another 30 seconds.
Serve your homemade take-out style chicken curry with steamed rice and a big spoon!