Hello! Welcome to This Spicy Life…
Have you ever had the delicious combination of Indian and Chinese food? If not, this is a new taste adventure you are sure to love. Indian-Chinese is very popular in India, and it’s offered on lots of pub menus and restaurant menus. There’s nothing quite as good with a cool drink as a fried vegetable ball dripping with a spicy garlic-chili sauce! Or a crispy, spicy baby corn spear… this cuisine is not for the spice-challenged person!
There are many varieties of Manchurian – some are “dry” (without a lot of gravy), some are “wet”. Some use tomato product in the sauce, some don’t. All of them are highly flavored with some type of fried ball or battered pieces of vegetable, paneer or chicken.
My favorite recipe for Veg Manchurian is the following recipe from (my Dear Mother-in-Law) Shyamala Kallianpur‘s cookbook “Green Leafy Vegetables”. (Unfortunately it is out of print right now, but she is hoping to make it available again! The book is a treasure trove of healthy Konkani vegetarian cooking with some bonus recipes thrown in.) Without further delay (as many people have been asking for this recipe!!!)…
Vegetable Manchurian with Spicy Garlic-Cilantro Gravy
This is a two-part recipe. Make the balls first, set aside and then work on the sauce. Making both at once is a little hectic unless you have some help in the kitchen!
For the Vegetable Balls:
- 1 cup spring onion leaves (green part only)
- 1/2 cup green beans
- 1 cup cabbage
- 1/2 cup carrot
- 1/2 cup bell pepper
- 2 small potatoes (approx 1 1/2 cups), boiled, peeled and mashed
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp chili sauce (the red sauce in a bottle)
- salt to taste
- 2 – 4 cups oil for deep frying
- Finely cut the first 5 vegetable ingredients. Cut as finely as possible – a food processor is the fastest and easiest but you can also use a grater or a knife.
- Heat a large wok or frying pan over medium low heat. Put the vegetables in the pan along with 2 tsp of salt. Stir occasionally and allow to cook for 5 minutes. The vegetables will just start to steam/sweat a bit, not brown.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Add the remaining ingredients except for the oil. Mix together well using a spoon or your hands. Test for salt level and add more if necessary.
- Form into 1″ diameter balls and flatten slightly. Deep fry until dark brown. Drain and set aside.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 6 – 12 green chilis (or to taste), grind into a paste with a little water
- 30 cloves of garlic, minced – don’t be shy with this…it mellows out with cooking!
- 1/2 cup spring onion leaves (green part only), finely chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 – 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp chili sauce
- 2 tsp vinegar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- salt to taste
- 3 cups of water
- Heat a medium or large frying pan over medium low heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil and then the green chili paste and minced garlic. Fry slowly, stirring often until it starts to turn brown. This takes a long time to turn brown…just take it slowly and keep a close eye since it will burn quickly at the end.
- Add the cut spring onion and 1/2 of the coriander leaves. Mix well and cook for 4 -5 minutes. You can add a little bit of the water if it starts to stick too much.
- Mix the sauces, vinegar, cornstarch, and about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water in a separate bowl to make a thin paste. Pour into the pan and stir to mix well.
- Stir in the remaining water and bring to a boil. Continue cooking (or add more water) until the consistency is that of a medium-thick gravy.
- Taste for salt and add if necessary.
- Remove from heat, add the fried vegetable balls and remaining cilantro. Serve hot with fried rice or noodles.