Veg machurian is one of the many INDIAN chinese dishes you wont find in china (surprise suprise) ! It is an invention of chinese immigrants in India for the spice loving indians.
What exactly is Veg manchurian then ?
Veg manchurian is basically finely minced vegetables, fried and coated with a thick luscious chilly – garlic – soya based sauce. The soft juicy veg manchurian balls are seemingly easy to make, but actually quite tricky. I have tried so many times and ended up with chewy or hard or rubbery manchurian balls. Many a times the sauce is not absorbed by the balls and they end up tasting like cardboard. After a lot of trial and errors, I had defeatedly concluded that I cant make good manchurian balls or no true recipe exists on the internet 🙁
But I finally learnt how to make the perfect soft and plump veg manchurian balls from the chinese chef at my restaurant, Mr. Bamdev. A soft spoken kumaoni chef, he had years of experience in various chinese restaurant kitchens.
It would not be false to add here that it is the technique just as much as the ingredients that its the hallmark of a good recipe. He used the same ingredients that i had tried in so many of my failed attempts but with just a little bit of a tweak in the method of preparation , his manchurian balls were melt in the mouth. One can easily cut through the soft balls with a spoon without applying any pressure at all.
This dish is made in dry form or wet. When the balls are served with a thick gravy, they are usually enjoyed with a variety of rice or noodles. And the dry version is served as an appetizer.
The method of making them both remains mostly the same with the exception of adding more water in the wet version or ” veg manchurian gravy” as it is called in a lot of restaurants.
It is important to chop the vegetables in the perfect size for the balls to have the correct consistency. Usually meat cleavers are used in restaurants to mince the veggies finely. But since most of us dont have cleavers lying around the house, since most of us are not serial killers, you can chop them in a food processsor or in a manual chopper like the one shown below.
You can buy the manual chopper easily online here.
As a last resort, u can pulse the veggies in your mixer jar. But DO NOT grate them. Since, grating releases a lot of moisture from the vegetables and to compensate for that we will either have to throw all the healthy water out or add a lot of flours. Both of which we dont want.
Please watch the video recipe to understand the making in details with lots of tips.Print
Cabbage –350gms or 2.5 cups
Spring onion –50gm or ½ cup
Carrots – 100gm or ½ cup
Ginger – 1 tbsp or 15 gms
Garlic – 1 Tbsp or 15 gms
Green chilly – 1 Tbsp or 10 gms
Salt – To taste
Black pepper powder – ½ tsp
White pepper powder – ½ tsp
Aji no moto/ MSG (optional) – 1/2 tsp
All purpose Flour – ½ cup or 60 gm
Cornflour – ½ cup +1 Tbsp or 60gms
Garlic – 1 Tbsp
Ginger – 1 tbsp
Celery – 1 Tbsp
Green chilly – 1 Tbsp
Water – 1 cup
Soya sauce – 1 ½ Tbsp
Vinegar – 1 tsp
Chilli sauce – 1 Tbsp
Blackpepper powder – ¼ tsp
Aji no moto/ MSG (optional) – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Cornflour – 1 Tbsp + Water – 2 Tbsp
- First chop all the vegetables finely in a vegetable chopper or food processor. As a last resort you can pulse them in a mixer but be careful not to make a puree/ chutney out of them.
- To the finely minced cabbage and spring onions, add ginger, garlic, green chillies and salt. Mix them well and using the pressure of your hands try to release the water. Squeeze them well. Add the blackpepper.
- Now if the water released is too much you can throw some out. To check how much water is appropriate and what is the correct consistency of the final batter please watch the video.
- Add the cornflour, all-purpose flour and aji no moto.
- It should form a sticky dough. It shouldn’t be too loose like a batter nor too tight like a firm dough.
- Form small individual balls. Fry in medium hot oil till the they become golden brown.
- To make the sauce, heat some oil. Saute the ginger, garlic and celery. Once they soften slightly, add the water and rest of the sauces. Let it come to a boil.
- Add the balls and simmer them for 3-4 minutes till they absorb some of the liquid.
- Most of the liquid should be absorbed by the Manchurian balls but to thicken up the remaining sauce, make a slurry of cornflour and water.
- Add this to the pan while stirring continuously. The sauce will thicken up in 2-3 mins and coat all the balls evenly with no liquid remaining in the pan.
- Your veg Manchurian dry is ready. Garnish with spring onion greens and serve hot !!
- The size of the chopped vegetables is most important. If they are grated or crushed too fine in the mixture then they may a release a lot of water.
- To avoid that I prefer to use vegetables kept in the fridge for 2-3 days. They are drier.
- If they do release a lot of water after salting, do not omit to discard the excess water. Don’t try and compensate it by adding more flour. This will make you balls chewy or too gummy in texture.
- Fry the balls in medium heat. If they are fried at high heat then they will become brown outside but remain raw inside.
- But don’t fry them on very low heat for a very long time also, the outer layer may become too thick and then it will not absorb the sauce properly or even if it does, it will become chewy and difficult to cut through easily with a spoon. You will hav to maintain a fine balance.
- Keep the size of the balls small. To avoid undercooking the interior. The smaller sized balls will cook more evenly through and through.
- You can prepare the balls upto a day in advance and store in the fridge. Just follow steps 7 to 11 , before serving.
Keywords: veg manchurian dry , veg manchurian starter, veg manchurian balls
You can watch the full video recipe here –