Chinese food is my most favorite cuisine in the whooole world! If you ask me for my choice of a takeaway, 99% of the times, my reply will be, “Let’s get chinese”. When we moved abroad about three years ago, I found the food at the authentic chinese restaurants very different than what we get in India. That’s when I realised that we Indians are habitual of the fusion of chinese food with Indian spiceyness, more commonly called as ‘Indo-chinese’ nowdays!
As we find the food at the restaurants here too sweet and bland, I started cooking all of my favorite dishes at home. Chowmein, fried rice and of course, Manchurian!
Chicken manchurian or chilly chicken is easy to prepare, but I struggled for ages to find the perfect recipe for veg manchurian balls. I would never get perfectly round shaped ones and they would mostly crumble with all the moisture from the veggies. That’s when my very good friend who owns a popular cafe in his hometown in India came to my rescue and gave me a superb recipe for making perfect manchurian balls. That’s what it comes down to in this dish as the gravy is supereasy and I keep twisting it according to my mood everytime I cook manchurian. Give this recipe a try and enjoy!
-Grated veggies ( no fixed proportion, entirely upto you) I use,
-1 Chopped onion, medium sized
-1 tbsp Plain flour or maida
-1 egg (Optional)
-1 tbsp cornflour
-Some chopped garlic
-1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
-Some Onion and capsicum pieces, cut in cubes
-1 tbsp soya sauce
-1 tbsp chilly sauce
-1 tbsn tomato sauce
-1 tsp vinegar
-Salt & pepper to taste
-Sesame oil or any vegetable oil that you use for cooking
-Some chopped spring onion leaves for garnishing.
-Squeeze out MAXIMUM water from the grated vegetables. This is very important and will affect our manchurian hugely.
-In a bowl, add grated veggies, salt, pepper, flour, cornflour and the egg. Egg is optional ut if you are not a vegan, I will recommend you using it. Nothing binds manchurians balls better than an egg. If you do not want to use it, just use more cornflour but very carefully, as excess cornflour makes the batter sticky!
-Knead lightly. Do not overknead, just mix all the things well with light hands. Make medium sized balls.
-Deep fry on a medium heat so that the inside veggies get properly cooked too. Frying on a very high heat results in the inside of the machurian balls staying raw. Keep aside.
For the dry manchurian,
-Heat some oil in a wok. Keep the heat on constant medium high.
*Chinese cooking is always done on high heat*
-In the hot oil, add garlic, chopped onions, g.g paste and fry till the oil leaves the mixture and raw smell of g.g paste goes away.
-Add the cubed onions and capsicum and fry till they get a bit cooked.
-Add your sauces and vinegar and a little water so that they do not get burnt. Fry for a minute.
-If the mixture looks a bit watery, sprinkle some cornflour in it and stir well immediately to avoid lumps. It will thicken up right away.
-Finally, toss your manchurian balls in the mixture and mix it all together gently.
-Adjust salt and pepper. Garnish with spring onion greens and serve hot!
For manchurian with gravy,
After the above step where you have added sauces, pour 3/4 cup of water mixed with 2 tsps of cornflour and stir it well rapidly to avoid lumps. You should get a nice thick gravy in a minute. Rest all the steps will remain the same. Some people add tomato puree to make a more thick, consistent gravy but I find that the puree combined with sauces makes the gravy too sour or salty for my taste. If you decide upon using the puree, add sauces and salt carefully in smaller quantities and keep tasting the gravy after every step.