Chinese Ketchup Chicken Recipe: A Sweet and Savoury Delight – Seaco Online
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Chinese Ketchup Chicken Recipe: A Sweet and Savoury Delight

If you're looking for a quick and easy recipe to try out for dinner tonight, you might want to consider making Chinese ketchup chicken. This dish is a popular one in many Chinese restaurants, and it's also quite simple to make at home. With just a few essential ingredients and some basic preparation techniques, you can have a delicious meal on the table in no time.

A wok sizzles with diced chicken, ginger, and garlic in a rich, tangy ketchup sauce. Green onions and sesame seeds garnish the dish

To make Chinese ketchup chicken, you'll need boneless chicken, ketchup, garlic, and a few other ingredients. You'll marinate the chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch, then fry it up until it's crispy and golden brown. Then, you'll make a quick sauce by sautéing garlic in oil and adding ketchup, sugar, and water. Once the sauce is heated through, you'll add the chicken back to the pan and toss it until it's coated in the sauce.

This dish is perfect for those nights when you don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. It's quick, easy, and delicious, and it's sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Plus, if you're feeling adventurous, you can always experiment with adding other ingredients to the dish, such as seafood or vegetables.

Essential Ingredients

A wok sizzles as chicken, soy sauce, ketchup, and sugar combine. Steam rises, filling the kitchen with savory aromas

When it comes to making Chinese ketchup chicken, there are several essential ingredients that you need to have on hand. These ingredients are what give the dish its unique flavour and texture. In this section, we'll break down the most important components of the recipe.

Chicken Selection

Firstly, it's important to choose the right type of chicken for your ketchup chicken recipe. You can use either chicken breast or dark meat depending on your preference. However, we recommend using boneless chicken thighs as they are more flavourful and tender than chicken breast. If you want to add seafood to the recipe, you can use shrimp or prawns, which will add a delightful taste to the dish.

Sauce Components

The sauce is the heart of this recipe, and it's what gives the dish its signature tangy flavour. The main components of the sauce are ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and salt. You can adjust the amount of each ingredient to suit your taste. If you want to make the sauce spicier, you can add some chili flakes or hot sauce.

Aromatic Additions

Aromatic ingredients such as garlic, green onions, and sesame seeds are used to give the dish a fragrant aroma and enhance its flavour. Garlic is a must-have ingredient in this recipe, as it adds a pungent taste that complements the sweetness of the sauce. Green onions are used as a garnish and add a fresh, crisp taste to the dish. Sesame seeds are toasted and used as a topping to add a nutty flavour to the dish.

To thicken the sauce, you can use cornstarch or flour. Cornstarch is a better option as it creates a smoother texture. With these essential ingredients, you can make a delicious Chinese ketchup chicken that is sure to impress your family and friends.

Preparation Techniques

A wok sizzles as chicken is stir-fried with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. A splash of ketchup is added, creating a rich, glossy glaze

Marinating the Chicken

To achieve the best flavour and tenderness, marinating the chicken is a crucial step in the preparation of Chinese ketchup chicken. You can use chicken breasts, which are the most common cut of chicken used for this recipe. However, you can also use seafood such as shrimp or squid as an alternative.

To marinate the chicken, mix together soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl. Add the chicken and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes. For a more flavourful chicken, you can marinate it for up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Breading Basics

To achieve a crispy exterior, the chicken must be breaded before cooking. The breading process involves coating the marinated chicken in a mixture of cornstarch, flour, and eggs. For a healthier option, you can use baking soda instead of eggs.

To bread the chicken, first, coat it in cornstarch, then dip it in the egg mixture, and finally coat it with flour. Repeat the process to ensure that the chicken is well coated.

Sauce Preparation

The sauce is the star of the dish, and it is made by combining ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and water in a pan. You can adjust the sweetness and saltiness of the sauce to your taste by adding more sugar or soy sauce.

To make the sauce, heat the pan over medium-high heat and add the ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and water. Stir the mixture until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes until it thickens.

By following these preparation techniques, you can make a delicious Chinese ketchup chicken that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Cooking Method

A wok sizzles as chicken is stir-fried with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. A vibrant red sauce is added, creating a glossy glaze. Garnished with scallions and sesame seeds

Stir-Frying Fundamentals

Stir-frying is a popular cooking method in Chinese cuisine that involves cooking ingredients in a wok or skillet over high heat with constant stirring. The high heat and constant movement of the ingredients ensure that they cook quickly and evenly, while retaining their texture and flavour.

To stir-fry ketchup chicken, you'll need a wok or a large skillet. A wok is the preferred tool for stir-frying, as its shape allows for even heat distribution and easy stirring. However, if you don't have a wok, a large skillet will work just as well.

Before you start cooking, it's important to heat your wok or skillet over high heat until it's very hot. This will ensure that your ingredients cook quickly and evenly. It's also important to use the right oil for stir-frying. Vegetable oil, canola oil, or sesame oil are all good options for stir-frying.

Achieving the Perfect Fry

To achieve the perfect fry for your ketchup chicken, it's important to follow a few simple steps. First, make sure your oil is hot enough before adding your chicken. You can test the temperature of your oil by adding a small piece of chicken or a wooden chopstick to the pan. If the oil bubbles around the chicken or chopstick, it's hot enough.

Once your oil is hot, add your chicken to the pan in a single layer. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, as this can cause the chicken to steam instead of fry. Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it's golden brown and crispy.

If you're looking to add seafood to your ketchup chicken recipe, prawns or shrimp would be a great addition. Simply stir-fry the prawns or shrimp in the same pan as the chicken, or cook them separately and add them to the dish at the end.

Serving Suggestions

A plate of Chinese ketchup chicken garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, accompanied by a side of steamed white rice


Chinese ketchup chicken can be served with a variety of accompaniments. One popular option is to serve the chicken over a bed of steamed rice. This helps to balance out the sweetness of the ketchup sauce and provides a filling base for the meal.

If you want to add some extra vegetables to your meal, you could try stir-frying some bell peppers and peas to serve alongside the chicken. The sweetness of the peppers complements the ketchup sauce, and the peas add a pop of colour to the dish.

For a lighter option, you could serve the ketchup chicken with a side salad. A simple salad made with lettuce, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes would work well. You could dress the salad with a light vinaigrette to add some acidity to the meal.


When it comes to garnishing your ketchup chicken, there are a few options to consider. One classic garnish is to sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of the chicken. This adds a nutty flavour and a bit of crunch to the dish.

Another option is to slice some scallions and sprinkle them over the chicken. The fresh, mild onion flavour of the scallions pairs well with the sweetness of the ketchup sauce.

If you want to add some seafood to your meal, you could consider adding some shrimp to the dish. Simply stir-fry the shrimp in a separate pan until pink and cooked through, then add them to the ketchup chicken just before serving. This adds a delicious seafood flavour to the dish without overpowering the other flavours.

Nutritional Information

A plate of Chinese ketchup chicken with a side of steamed vegetables and a bowl of white rice, with a nutritional information label displayed next to it

If you are conscious about your calorie intake, you might want to know the nutritional information of the Chinese ketchup chicken recipe. Here are the nutritional values per serving of the recipe:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 411
Protein 33g
Carbohydrates 47g
Fat 9g

As you can see, this recipe is a good source of protein. It also contains a moderate amount of carbohydrates and fat. If you are looking to reduce your calorie intake, you can consider using seafood instead of chicken. Shrimp or prawns can be a great alternative to chicken in this recipe.

Seafood is a good source of protein and contains fewer calories than chicken. For example, a 3-ounce serving of shrimp contains only 84 calories and 18 grams of protein. Prawns are also a great option as they contain only 71 calories and 15 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving.

So, if you want to make this recipe healthier, you can replace the chicken with shrimp or prawns. This will not only reduce the calorie count but also add a unique flavour to the dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

A wok sizzles as chicken simmers in a savory blend of soy sauce, sugar, and ketchup, creating a glossy glaze. Green onions and sesame seeds garnish the dish

What ingredients are needed for an easy Chinese ketchup chicken recipe?

To make a simple Chinese ketchup chicken recipe, you will need boneless chicken breasts, cornflour, salt, black pepper, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and green onions. You can add a bit of chilli sauce or hot sauce if you like your food spicy.

How can I make a marinade for ketchup chicken?

To make a marinade for ketchup chicken, mix ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and a bit of vegetable oil in a bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until they are well combined. Marinate the chicken in the mixture for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

What's the best way to stir-fry chicken with ketchup?

To stir-fry chicken with ketchup, heat a bit of vegetable oil in a wok or a large frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until it is browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Add garlic, ginger, and green onions to the pan and stir-fry for a minute. Add the ketchup sauce to the pan and stir-fry for another minute. Return the chicken to the pan and stir-fry for another minute until it is coated with the sauce.

Can you suggest a variation of ketchup chicken with an Indian twist?

If you want to give your ketchup chicken an Indian twist, you can add some curry powder, cumin, and coriander to the ketchup sauce. You can also use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts and add some prawns or squid to the dish to make it more flavourful.

What are the secrets to making the best Chinese ketchup chicken?

The secret to making the best Chinese ketchup chicken is to marinate the chicken in the sauce for at least 30 minutes before cooking it. This will allow the chicken to absorb the flavours of the sauce. Another secret is to stir-fry the chicken quickly over high heat to keep it tender and juicy.

How does brown sugar enhance the flavour of chicken with ketchup?

Brown sugar enhances the flavour of chicken with ketchup by adding a sweet and slightly caramelised taste to the dish. It also helps to balance the sourness of the ketchup and the saltiness of the soy sauce. If you don't have brown sugar, you can use honey or maple syrup instead.