Today we are going to learn how to make mango chicken sauce. It’s a sweet treat for the taste buds. Mango and orange zest give it a nice kick and you can use it as a dipping sauce, marinade or just eat it with a spoon. But you have to make sure the sauce is thick, so you’ll have to wait longer until it’s done.
Thai Mango Chicken
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)SAVE RECIPE
This recipe for Thai mango chicken tastes like a deep-fried dish but is much easier to make, plus lower in calories and fat. Slices of flour-dusted chicken are pan-fried then simmered in a tangy mango sauce. Fresh, ripe mango works best in this recipe since it adds the best flavor and color. The taste is well worth the effort.
This dish works equally well for a family meal or when entertaining. Serve with freshly cooked Thai jasmine rice and a simple vegetable side dish, like Thai cucumber salad or stir-fried bok choy.
“I absolutely love the texture of things that are battered and fried then covered with sauce. The bell pepper helps marry the sweetness of the mango with the dish. I like to add toasted and chopped peanuts or cashews for some extra crunch.”
A Note From Our Recipe Tester
For the Mango Sauce:
- 2 fresh ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 makrut lime leaves, cut into slivers with scissors, stem and central vein discarded
- 1 red chile, seeded and diced
- 1 thumb-sized piece galangal or ginger, sliced
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
For the Chicken:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup peanut oil or coconut oil
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 2-inch-long pieces
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
- 1/2 to 1 mango, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 to 4 tablespoons coconut milk or water
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
Steps to Make It
Make the Mango Sauce
- Gather the ingredients.
- Place the mangoes, garlic, makrut lime leaves, chile, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and turmeric in a food processor or blender. Process well until smooth.
- Taste the sauce. The goal is to reach a balance of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. Add more sugar if you find the sauce too sour (this will depend on the sweetness of your mangoes). If not spicy enough, add more chile. If not salty/flavorful enough, add more fish sauce. If too salty or too sweet, add more lime juice. Set aside.
Make the Chicken and Assemble
- Gather the ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the chicken pieces and turn or gently stir them to coat.
- Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then begin frying the chicken pieces in batches, 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until light golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove chicken from the pan and set on a paper towel.
- Clean out the wok/frying pan. Set over medium-high heat and add the mango sauce plus the red bell pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer (medium to low heat).
- If the sauce becomes too thick, add coconut milk or water. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes, or until the pepper has softened slightly but still retains some crispness.
- Add the fried chicken pieces, gently stirring them into the sauce. If desired, add chunks of mango. Simmer briefly, just until everything is hot.
- Do a final taste test for salt, tasting the sauce together with the chicken. Add a little more fish sauce or chile if desired.
- Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot topped with cilantro.
- Fresh mango works best, but you can substitute 2 cups frozen or canned mango.
- 1 teaspoon chile sauce or 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chile can be substituted for the fresh chile.
- If you don’t have rice vinegar, use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- If you don’t have makrut lime leaves, use the finely grated zest of one lime.
- Use rice flour in place of the all-purpose flour to make the recipe gluten free.
This zesty mango chicken has a touch of both sweet and savory flavors, and is a fantastic dish to prepare when fresh mangos are delectably juicy and ripe. Tender chunks of chicken are simmered in a rich sauce brimming with warming spices such as curry powder, cinnamon, and ginger, plus chunks of fresh, sweet mango for a dish that awakens the palate with lots of earthy flavor!
A Chicken Dish with Sweetness and Spice, and Everything Nice
While many of us love fresh, sweet mangos cut up into chunks and added to our summery bowls of fruit, yogurt, and oatmeal, or even blended up into our morning smoothies, we may not necessarily think of mangos as something to be added to a savory dish.
Mango is the perfect fruit for an entree with a sweet and savory slant.
My mango chicken recipe is one of our favorite sweet-savory and mildly spicy chicken dishes to prepare when fresh mangos are at their peak of ripeness (from May through September). This dish is brimming with aromatics such as onions and garlic, plus spices such as curry powder, cinnamon, and ginger to awaken the palate.
The Cozy Apron – Food Meditation: Guinness Extra Stout Float
Finished with a handful of roasted cashews for crunch and a sprinkle of vibrant cilantro for a hint of freshness, my mango chicken recipe is an deliciously comforting and cozy meal when spooned generously over hot, fluffy basmati rice as a tasty accompaniment!
My Mango Chicken Recipe with Cashews and Spices
Since mango is a star ingredient in this mouthwatering chicken dish, choosing fruit that is ripe yet still has a bit of firmness is the way to go, especially if you’d like the mango chunks to keep their shape a bit more rather than completely melting into the sauce.
For this, I look for mangos that are a nice, bright, yellow-red color, with not too much “give” or softness when they’re squeezed. Firmer mangos will make for easier peeling, as well as cutting into medium, bite-size chunks.
And to create that rich, earthy flavor, and a touch of mild spiciness to this sweet and savory offering, I opt for just a small handful of other ingredients to round everything out…
Since mango naturally partners well with spices, I’m sprinkling in a bit of curry powder, cinnamon, and ground ginger to waken things up, along with some onions, garlic, a pinch of tomato paste, and some chicken stock.
The combination of these ingredients create the tasty sauce to simmer both the chicken thigh pieces and the chunks of mango in until perfectly tender and succulent.
Then, I finish things off with chopped, roasted cashews for added crunch and nutty flavor, plus a sprinkle of fresh cilantro!
- To get things started, I season and sear my chicken thigh pieces in a little ghee or butter in a hot pan just until mostly cooked through, then remove them from the pan.
- Next, I build my sauce by sauteing my onions for a few moments, then sprinkle in my spices, add some garlic, and stir for a couple of moments just until aromatic.
- Next, I add a touch of tomato paste to the sauce, followed by my mango chunks and the seared chicken.
- Some chicken stock or broth is also added to the sauce, and the mixture is gently simmered for 40 minutes until the chicken is juicy and tender, and the sauce velvety, mildly spiced, and rich.
- I finish the sauce with my roasted cashews and cilantro, then serve the mango chicken spooned over top of fresh basmati rice.
This mango chicken is bursting with fresh mango for sweet-savory flavor, and kissed with curry, cinnamon and ginger for a mildly spicy kick!
Cuisine: South Asian
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 352 calories per serving (mango chicken only)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- 1 ½ pounds of skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks
- Black pepper
- 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), or a combo of unsalted butter and oil
- 1 onion, cut in half and sliced into thin, semi-circles
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 ½ cups fresh mango chunks (about 1 large mango that is ripe yet firm, with peel and seed removed)
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish
- ⅓ cup (heaping) roasted, unsalted cashew pieces
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to your ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Add the chicken pieces to a bowl, and season with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Place a large pan/skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add in 2 tablespoons of the ghee (or butter), and when hot, add half of the chicken thigh pieces and lightly brown them just until golden but not cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove chicken with slotted spoon onto a clean plate and set side for a moment. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of ghee to the pan, and then add in the sliced onions. Sauté the onions for about 3-4 minutes, until golden. Next add the garlic, the curry powder, the cinnamon, the ground ginger, and the red pepper flakes and stir together until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Next, stir in the tomato paste and allow it to cook for a minute, then add the mango chunks and the seared chicken, along with the chicken stock, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer, then lower the heat and allow to things to gently simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes until slightly thickened, gently stirring, occasionally.
- After 40 minutes, turn off the heat and fold in the honey, cilantro, and the roasted cashew pieces. Serve the mango chicken spooned over rice, or your favorite choice of side, garnished with a few additional cilantro leaves.
Tips & Tidbits for my Mango Chicken recipe:
- Skinless, boneless chicken thighs: Since this recipe requires a 40 minute simmer time, I’m opting for skinless, boneless chicken thighs that I cut into bite-size chunks. Thighs are fantastic for this slightly longer simmer, and will remain tender and juicy, and not dry out as skinless, boneless chicken breasts would. You can even substitute bone-in and skin-on whole chicken thighs and braise them in the sauce for delicious results as well.
- Ripe, yet firmer mangos will keep their shape better: For this recipe, you truly can’t go wrong whether you opt for very ripe and soft mangos or firmer ones. If you don’t mind the mango sort of “melting” into the sauce as it simmers, then a very soft and ripe mango is fine. But if you’d like to enjoy chunks of mango, then opt for firmer fruit and it will keep it’s shape better during the gentle simmering process, not breaking down quite as much.
- Frozen mangos, in a pinch: If mango is no longer in season, or you can’t find any that are ripe, then frozen mango is a terrific substitute. Just use the same amount called for (2 ½ cups) in place of fresh, and allow it to thaw slightly.
- Ground ginger, or freshly grated: While I’m opting for ground ginger here, you can easily substitute freshly grated ginger if you prefer, or if that is what you have on hand. Use about 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in place of the ½ teaspoon of powdered ground ginger.
- What to serve with mango chicken: My favorite accompaniment is fluffy basmati rice, because I really love the flavor and aroma of it. You can also serve over coconut rice, couscous, or even quinoa for a tasty alternative, plus naan and cucumber salad, if desired.
Chicken Saute with Mango Sauce
Here is one simple technique that guarantees juicy results every time. First, pound the chicken: making it thinner ensures quick and even cooking. Next, dredge the chicken lightly in seasoned flour, which helps it turn deep golden brown when sauteed. After the chicken is cooked, deglaze the skillet with broth, wine or a little water to make a pan sauce. The liquid loosens the flavor-boosting browned bits from the bottom of the pan, making a tastier sauce.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (1-1 1/4 pounds)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 mango, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, or mint
- Step 1Trim visible fat from chicken breasts. Remove the tenders (the long thin flaps); reserve for another use (see Tip). Place trimmed chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with a rolling pin, meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow glass dish. Dredge chicken in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. (Discard any leftover flour.)
- Step 2Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until well browned and no longer pink in the center, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.
- Step 3Add jalapeno, garlic and ginger to the pan; cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth and deglaze, scraping up any browned bits, for 1 minute. Mix orange juice, brown sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Stir in mango and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Spoon over the chicken and sprinkle with cilantro (or mint).
Tip: Wrap and freeze the chicken tenders. When you have gathered enough, use them in a stir-fry–they are the perfect size. Remove the tough membrane with a sharp knife before cooking.