Today’s recipe, veg Manchurian, is a classic Indo-Chinese recipe which is loved by all and is a staple in all Chinese food joints across India!
I wanted to share a side dish which would pair best with my vegetable fried rice and here it is today – veg Manchurian! A very popular dish, this veg Manchurian is loved by all across the board and if I am not wrong, it is one of the most ordered dish in any Chinese take-away counter across India. I too like the restaurant version of veg Manchurian and hence decided to create this recipe at home so that we can treat ourselves whenever we want. And it is needless to say that homemade food is any day more preferable than take-aways! I am sure there are many like me who is fond of this soft succulent veg Manchurian along with some crispy veggies and that’s the very reason I am sharing this easy recipe with you all!
The reason I prefer homemade version of any restaurant staple is that you can control what goes into your food. You can choose the freshest of vegetables available and create your customized assortment of vegetables as per your liking. I like colorful veggies as well as I love bell peppers/capsicums which is why my veg Manchurian is full of vibrant colored peppers. If you don’t like them, don’t add them. You can go for carrots, broccoli, shredded cabbage or whatever you like; just don’t cook them to too soft as the crunchy veggies add nice texture to the final dish.
Making veg Manchurian is a two-step process. First is to make the Manchurian balls and second is to prepare the sauce. This is also a perfect make-ahead recipe and ideal for a party too. You can make the Manchurian balls a day before and whizz up the sauce on the very day you plan to serve it. Then just drop the Manchurian balls into the gravy and give a good boil – you are all set to go! Your guests will love you for this dish, trust me! Not only the vegetarians, but also the meat-lovers will reach out for this delicious veg Manchurian and that’s a guarantee from me!
Another way you can perk up this recipe is to make a veg Manchurian starter instead of a gravy. If you want a dry veg Manchurian, instead of 1 & ½ cups of water, add only half a cup of water and then add the corn flour slurry. The sauce will be thick and in clinging consistency which will coat each Manchurian balls beautifully making them damn tasty! If you have added extra water by mistake, boil off the excess water by leaving the sauce on high flame for 2-3 minutes and then add the Manchurian balls once the gravy reaches your desired consistency. This recipe if quite adaptable and once you try it, you will surely gonna fall in love with it!
- Very finely chopped cabbage – 1 cup, about half of a medium cabbage
- Grated carrot – 1 cup, about 2 large carrots
- Garlic – 6 to 8 cloves, finely chopped or grated
- All-purpose flour/maida – 1 tbsp
- Corn flour – 3 tbsp
- Soy sauce – 1 tsp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
- Dry red chilli – 3 to 4, broken
- Ginger – 2-inch piece, finely chopped
- Garlic – 8 to 10 cloves, finely chopped
- Green chili – 4 to 6, finely chopped
- Green bell pepper – ½, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Red bell pepper – ½, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Yellow bell pepper – ½, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Onion – 1, large, cut into 1-inch chunks
- Green onion – 4 to 5, chopped and green & white parts separated
- Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
- White vinegar – 1 tsp
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Corn flour – 1 tbsp
- Water as required
- Take a large bowl and add all the ingredients listed under Manchurian balls except the vegetable oil i.e. chopped cabbage, grated carrot, chopped garlic, all-purpose flour, corn flour, soy sauce, salt and pepper.
- Mix all these ingredients preferably with hand to bring everything together. The vegetables should ooze out their water naturally which will help to bind everything together so that you can make Manchurian balls without having them falling apart. Only if your mixture is too dry, add water one spoon at a time and check the binding of the mixture. If your mixture becomes too loose, the Manchurian balls will break as soon as you drop them into hot oil.
- Now scoop about a teaspoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Don’t make the balls too big as they will fluff up after frying and later will soak up a lot of gravy and increase in size.
- Heat enough vegetable oil in a deep-frying pan. Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium-low, drop the balls and fry them until golden brown in all sides. Do not increase the flame as it would brown the outside of Manchurian balls way too quick leaving the inside raw.
- Fry the balls in batches and do not over-crowd the pan as they may get clogged with each other. Once the Manchurian balls are cooked through, about 5 minutes per batch, take them out using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel to soak excess oil.
- Now to make the gravy, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet. Temper the hot oil with dry red chilies and sauté for few seconds.
- Next, tip in the chopped ginger and chopped garlic and stir fry on high for 1 minute. Next add the chopped green chilies and stir them through.
- Now add all the other veggies – onion, green, red and yellow bell peppers, white parts of the green onion. Stir fry everything on high heat to mix everything well and get a smoky effect on the veggies. The veggies need not be too soft, keeping them somewhat crunchy will add beautiful texture to the dish and balance with soft Manchurian balls.
- Once the veggies are nicely stir-fried, season them with soy sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper (go little low on salt as soy sauce itself is quite salty). Stir them to mix well.
- Add about 1 & ½ cups of water and bring it to boil. While the water is coming to boil, prepare a slurry by evenly mixing 1 tablespoon of corn flour with couple of tablespoons of water. Add this corn flour slurry to the boiling gravy – this will instantly thicken the gravy and add a shining gloss to it. Check and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Finally drop in the fried Manchurian balls and toss them in the sauce to coat well. Manchurian balls will soak up a lot of the gravy, so add little more water if you feel the sauce is becoming too dry and bring it to boil.
- Finally sprinkle the green part of the green onions and serve warm veg Manchurian with my easy vegetable fried rice. Enjoy!