Vegetable Manchurian

Chinese and Thai food are my absolute favorite international cuisines. As crazy as it sounds, other than Lo Mein, I had never really ventured into cooking any other vegetarian Chinese dishes so recently, I decided to make Indo-Chinese (since us Indians like to add Indian spices in everything haha…hence Indo-Chinese) food for lunch – Vegetable Manchurian, Gobi Manchurian and Hakka Noodles. See my separate blog post for recipes on Gobi Manchurian and Hakka noddles. As y’all know, I am all about making quick meals because spending quality time with my kiddos is extremely important to me so spending half of my weekend cooking and cleaning just doesn’t jive well with me. I thought manchurian was going to be quick, but it turned out to be a bit labor some. Check out the TIP section below to see how you can make this quickly (something I will be doing in the future for sure).

Vegetable manchurian is a very popular Indo-Chinese dish (at least among Indians; you’ve gotta try it if you’ve never made it before). Eating this with the gravy takes it to a whole new level. I suppose you can eat it as a meal, but folks generally eat this with Chinese rice or noodles (or all three). FYI there are also lots of recipes out there that use frozen veggie balls and that would truly make this an instantly ready meal, but I will save that for another day! 🙂

Recipe below will yield roughly 12 medium sized manchurian balls. Serving size varies depending on whether you’re using this as a meal or just eating it as an appetizer.

Ingredients
1 medium size cabbage, grated
– 1 bell pepper, chopped
– 1 medium size onion, chopped
– 1 medium size carrot, grated
– Spring onions, #3
– Garlic, chopped (4-5 cloves)
– All purpose flour (4 tablespoons)
– Corn starch (3 tablespoons)
– Salt (1 tablespoon; adjust according to taste)
– Garam masala, 1 teaspoon
– Red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon
– Black pepper, 1 teaspoon
– Sriracha chilli sauce, 3 tablespoon
– Soy sauce, 2 tablespoon
– Ketch up, 3 tablespoon
– Oil, 3 tablespoons

RECIPE

Manchurian balls 

1. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to grated cabbage. Mix together and cover (with serene wrap, plate or whatever else you have handy) for 20 min
2. After 20 min, take chunk of cabbage at a time; firmly squeeze and press water out
3. Add grated carrot, garam masala, red chilli powder, all purpose flour and corn starch. Mix together and make a nice dough. DO NOT ADD water!
4. Once dough is done, make medium sized manchurian balls
5. Heat oil in a pan or wok. Keep on medium flame. Add one at a time and fry manchurian balls. It should take good 2-3 min for these balls to be nicely fried. Cook till each side is golden brown. Once done, remove from oil and set aside

Gravy

1. Heat a pan and 2-3 tablespoons of oil 
2. Add garlic, chopped spring onion, onion and bell pepper. Cook on high flame for 2-3 min.
3. Add chilli sauce, soy sauce and ketchup. Mix everything. 
4. Cook for 3-4 min more. 
5. Add 1/4 cup water if you want to make gravy slight liquidy (I chose to omit this step) 
6. Mix half tablespoon of corn starch powder with water and add to gravy so it thickens up a bit 
7. Add manchurian balls into the gravy RIGHT BEFORE serving. 
8. Garnish with spring onions. 

Tips  

  • Grated cabbage should yield roughly 3.5-4 cups once you’ve squeezed all the water out
  • Many recipes call for corn flour (corn masa flour), but I used corn starch instead and the balls still turned out amazing. Feel free to use either one. Of note, corn masa flour and corn starch are two different things.
  • Using the grater to grate cabbage and carrots was the most time consuming task. Use a blender or food chopper to finely mince cabbage/carrots – it’s a huge time saver!!
  • Feel free to get creative with the type of vegetables used to make the balls. Classic recipes call for cabbage, carrots and/or bell peppers. You can feel free to use one, two or all three of these OR get creative and add any other veggies you love. May need to adjust spices a bit depending on the quantity of each you are adding. I chose to omit bell peppers because it was going to be in my gravy.
  • Since I did not use bread crumbs to make my manchurian balls, I fried them right away. Do not let them sit, otherwise, balls will start releasing moisture and will likely break during the frying process.
  • Mix balls with gravy right before serving unless you like slightly soggy manchurian. I love eating manchurian once the gravy has nicely blended with the balls so I like to keep them in the gravy for 30 min – 1 hr before eating.

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