Vegetable Manchurian

I’ve never had Indo Chinese food until I went to a South Indian restaurant last week. It is fascinating to me; Indian food using Chinese cooking techniques.  Much of this kind of cuisine is deep fried, with gravy, like this recipe.  It tastes like Chinese food, but with undertones of Indian spices and heat.  Manchurian style is a sauce that is flavoured with soy and a spicy kick. There is also chow mein and fried rice.

I used the recipe from 365 Days of Eating Blog, but I needed to make adjustments to the recipe as the veggie balls were too watery and the gravy too thin. The original recipe called for corn flour, so I used corn meal. In hindsight, I suspected it should have been corn starch.

For the Manchurian balls

2 cups                  finely chopped cabbage
2 cups                  very finely chopped mix of carrots, cauliflower, parsley or whatever you have
4 tablespoons    corn starch
2 tablespoons    all-purpose flour (may need more if too liquid)
2 tablespoons    dark soy sauce
Dash                    chilli sauce
1/2 teaspoon     black pepper
Oil to fry

For the gravy

2 cups                   water
4 tablespoons     corn starch
1/2 cup                 chopped green onions with stalks
6-7 cloves             garlic
1 inch                    knob of ginger grated
1/2 teaspoon       red chili flakes
2-3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon           vinegar
1 tablespoon       red chili sauce
1 tablespoon       tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon      pepper
Dash                    sugar
1 tablespoon       oil

In a bowl mix all the ingredients to form the manchurian balls. It should be a little damp to touch and should form a ball when pressed in hand. Take a fistful and bind tightly to shape the mixture into 1 inch balls. If the mixture is too dry to bind, add an additional teaspoon of water. If the mixture falls apart, add more corn starch or flour and squeeze out some moisture as balls are made.

Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the balls on low- medium heat till they are golden brown. These balls can be eaten as a snack with a side of ketchup or sweet and sour sauce.

In another wok, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the onions (keep aside some greens for garnish), garlic and ginger and sauté on high heat. Add the spices, sauces and water and bring to a boil. Check for salt and add as necessary as the soy sauce will also add salt to the dish.

Just before serving, take out ¼ cup of the liquid, cool slightly and dissolve the corn starch in it. Add to the gravy and bring to a boil while stirring. Heat till the gravy has a shine to it.

Then add the balls to to the gravy and garnish with the onion greens.

Serve hot with Chinese Fried Rice or steamed rice.

To make a dry manchurian, reduce the quantity of water to ¾ cup, corn flour to ½ tablespoon and then proceed as above.

Recipe inspired by 365 Days of Eating.

All the ingredients
All the ingredients

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Deep fried goodness
Deep fried goodness

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