Desi ‘chinese’ foods are one of the most popular food types anywhere in the country. Right from being served in hotels, to restaurants to even being prepared roadside, fast food is here to stay. Among them, one of the most popular dishes is chicken Manchurian as it's quickly prepared and is available almost everywhere. So why is it unhealthy and why is it best consumed only occasionally?
As always, we'll begin with the ingredients. Chicken Manchurian, as the name suggests contains chicken. But most of the chicken used by local restaurants is the discarded portions of the chicken that are covered in fat and skin. The other ingredients used here are cornflour, refined oil that's reused multiple times to fry the chicken and a sodium packed soy sauce that adds taste to the dish.
Almost all the carbohydrates in this dish come from the various flours used in the preparation of the meatballs that are deep-fried to give it a crispy coating. Moreover, a cornflour slurry is later added to make the gravy thick. One often overlooked part of fast foods is the high sodium levels in these dishes, as high sodium can lead to water retention, stress on the kidneys, hypertension, and a host of other health complications.
The fats in the dish come from refined oils that are reused and reheated multiple times, to the point where it is taken beyond its smoking point. The same oil used to fry one batch of chicken is reused the entire day, sometimes for more than one day as well. The same refined oil is also used when the gravy part of the dish is being prepared, making this one of the most fat-loaded dishes, even if it doesn't look like it visually.
Whatever little protein you do get is from the chicken, which most if not all restaurants and definitely roadside eateries use discarded portions of meat, as they are not just cheap, but since they have lots of fats and skin on them, it adds to the flavour and taste as well. If you are looking for a protein-rich meal in the form of a bowl of Chicken Manchurian, then you need to look elsewhere.
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