Monday, November 12, 2018

Non-Fried Vegetable Manchurian

A PERFECT accompaniment to Fried Rice and Noodles; Vegetable Manchurian is made by dipping vegetable balls in a soy sauce based gravy. This recipe is NON-FRIED yet addictive! 

Do you LOVE Vegetarian Recipes? Join this Facebook Group: Herbivore Cucina - Delicious Vegetarian Recipes and check out delicious recipes from various bloggers and food lovers! 

Vegetarian Chow-mien, Fried Rice and Vegetable Manchurian is my definition of PERFECT comfort food. As a family we have loved this combination and continue to do so. For the longest time I have been making a fried version of Machurian. Recently I started making them in the abeliskiver pan. The results have been amazing.

So, after several trials; I finally have the BEST version here. And I must say, after trying this non-fried version, I am not going back to the fried one. Lesser oil, super quick and no fear of the balls breaking up while frying are the advantages this method has. And the MOST important thing; no compromise on taste. 

For those who are not aware of this, Vegetable Manchurian is a Vegetarian version of meatballs in a gravy.  A cross between Chinese and Indian or maybe an Indianized version of Asian food; Indo-Chinese is super popular across India. I have been a fan of this cuisine for years and have TONS of recipes on the blog. If you would like to read some more recipes; try these:

I am sure you figured out my love for the cuisine. It is funny that I never added the recipe of the MOST popular Indo-Chinese dish on the blog. I am glad it is here! I could not hold back anymore. 

How to get NON-FRIED version PERFECT each time

The original version has fried vegetable balls in gravy. The same recipe works for frying and in the abeliskiver pan. The best way to keep them crisp when you serve them; dip the manchurian balls in the prepared gravy just before serving. If they are kept in the gravy for a long time, they will be soggy. 

I used a mix of vegetables to make these balls. However, using vegetables that are FULL of water is not a great idea. They tend to release moisture when in contact with water. Using frozen vegetables for this recipe does not work well too. They are full of moisture and tend to give soggy results. 

BREAD is the secret ingredient that handles all the moisture in the recipe. I use a couple of slices for about 15-16 Manchurian balls and it works like MAGIC. This has been a tip from my mother and gives perfect manchurian each time. 

The typical gravy is made using lots of garlic, ginger and quite a bit of soy sauce. Cornstarch is the thickener used here and that gives the gravy the perfect consistency. These ingredients are a MUST-HAVE in the recipe. The onion and pepper can be skipped if you like.  


For the Vegetable Balls

Carrot 1/4 cup, diced finely
Cabbage 1 cup, shredded
reen Beans 1/4 cup, minced
Cauliflower 1/4 cup, minced
Green Onions 4-5 stalks, minced
Corn Starch 1 tbsp
Bread 2-3 slices
Vinegar 1/2 tsp
Soy Sauce 1/2 tsp (Tamari for vegan)
Chilli Sauce 1/4 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Vegetable Oil 2 tbsp

For the Gravy

Garlic 3-4 cloves, minced
Ginger 1 inch piece, minced

Green Onion 1-2 stalks
Green Pepper 1/4 cup, minced
Corn Starch 1 tbsp
Vinegar 1/2 tsp
Soy Sauce 1 1/2 tsp (Tamari for vegan)
Salt 1 tsp
Crushed Black Pepper 1 tsp
Vegetable Oil 1 tsp


To make the Manchurian Balls

In a bowl mix together the vegetables. Add salt, vinegar, chilli sauce and soy sauce. Mix well. 

Add 1 cup water to another bowl. Soak one bread slice for a few seconds, remove from water and squeeze the water out. Crumble the bread and add it to the vegetable mixture. Repeat for all the slices.

Mix everything and make 1 inch balls using the mixture. Set aside. 

Heat an abeliskiver pan. Add a few drops of oil in each cavity. Place a ball in each cavity and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium flame. Turn over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Once the balls are crisp on the outside, remove and set aside. 

Finish cooking all the balls. This can be done ahead of time. All the balls can be made and stored in an airtight container.

To make the Gravy and assemble
In a pan heat oil. Add ginger and garlic. Sauté for a minute till the raw flavor vanishes. Next add onion and peppers. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

While it cooks, add 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Add in corn starch, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Once the onion and peppers cook, add the corn starch mixture. Min well and add more water if required. Let the gravy thicken for a few minutes. 

Then add the manchurian balls, mix well and cook for another minute. Turn down the flame and serve IMMEDIATELY topped with spring onion greens. 

I served this with Garlic Fried Rice and it was AMAZING!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Instant Pot Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Creamy Sauce

A Whole Roasted Cauliflower served over Creamy Tomato Sauce; this recipe is made in the Instant Pot and PERFECT for a Vegan Thanksgiving celebration!

Diwali is over and Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Last few days and the next few weeks sound super busy! Keeping up with recipes for Indian festivals like Navratri and Diwali and Holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving is tough.

I finished off recipes for Diwali yesterday and now on with Thanksgiving. Love the Holiday season recipes; especially Thanksgiving. For those who know that my blog is vegetarian; will wonder what I enjoy with my family. But do not worry, we have our Vegetarian meal full of delicious recipes perfect for the celebration! 

Over the last few years I have made several recipes that are easy and great for celebrating. Here are the recipes I have on the blog already:

I cannot believe I do not have the recipe of Mashed Potatoes on the blog yet. I promised myself I will work on a version this week! For now, here is a recipe that works like a great Vegetarian Centerpiece for Thanksgiving. I used the Instant Pot to simplify the process and reduce the cooking time considerably.

The blog has two versions of the Gobi Musallam and here is another one. This one is Vegan; super easy to make and NO-FAIL. The recipe can be made in advance and the final step can be done just before serving.

For those wondering what I am talking about; this recipe is of a Whole Roasted Cauliflower in a Creamy sauce. The whole cauliflower is marinated in Indian spices and steamed along with the ingredients of the sauce. Then the sauce is blended well and the cauliflower is broiled for a couple of minutes. Finally, the cauliflower is set in a platter filled with sauce and served.

Every guest I have had visiting us LOVES this dish. They get to choose how much of the cauliflower they want and how much curry. It almost feels like carving a real Turkey on Thanksgiving! 

Why make this in the Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is a fabulous appliance to make recipes really easily and quickly. I have made this recipe in the oven and on the stove top. However, the Instant Pot version is quicker than both the methods.

The cooking time for the cauliflower and sauce is JUST TWO minutes and the entire process takes about 40 minutes. I do not know of a Thanksgiving main that comes together in such less time! 

The cauliflower is a great vegetable to cook in the Instant Pot! This method yields a perfect cauliflower; firm enough to handle and soft enough to enjoy with the creamy tomato based sauce. And yes, the sauce ingredients cook with the cauliflower; making the recipe super quick.

Love the Instant Pot like me? Try these recipes then:

This year I made a Vegan version of the Gobi Musallam. However, non-Vegans can make a few changes to make the recipe dairy rich. The oil in the recipe can be replaced with ghee and Coconut milk can be replaced by cream.

Here I used a white cauliflower that was enough for two people. However, the size of the cauliflower can be picked based on number of people in the party. Double the sauce ingredients if using a larger cauliflower but do not change the time. Larger quantities take more time for the Instant Pot to come to pressure making it perfect to cook them.

The last step of the process is BROILING the cauliflower. While this step is optional; it helps give the cauliflower a crisp top that tastes yummy. I would strongly recommend doing this to get the signature crust. 

I would make this recipe before hand and keep the sauce and cauliflower steamed. When ready to serve; I would just heat the sauce in the Instant Pot insert and Broil the cauliflower. This helps heat everything quickly and perfect for serving! 

So wait no more; read on how to make this Thanksgiving special in record time! 

For the Cauliflower
Cauliflower 1 medium
Oil 3 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder 1 tsp
Ginger 1 inch piece, grated
Garlic 3-4 pods, grated
Salt 1 tsp

For the Curry
Onion 1 medium, diced
Tomatoes 3-4 medium, diced
Ginger 1 inch piece, grated
Garlic 1-2 cloves, grated
Cashews 1/4 cup, soaked for an hour 
Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
Coconut Milk 1/2 cup
Vegetable Oil 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Cilantro to top


To prepare the Cauliflower
Using a sharp knife, remove the tough stems and leaves of the cauliflower. Cut the base such that it stands upright without toppling over.

In a bowl mix everything under ingredients for the cauliflower except the cauliflower itself. Using a brush, coat the cauliflower with the mixture. Make sure the mixture seeps between the florets. 

Set aside while you prepare the gravy. Reserve any leftover marinade to add to the curry.

To prepare the Curry
Place the Instant pot insert in the instant pot and set mode to 'Sauté' mode to Normal. Add vegetable oil once the display reads 'Hot'. Add garlic and ginger to the pot and sauté for a minute. 

Once the raw flavor of the garlic vanishes, add onion and mix well. Sauté till the onion is soft; about 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and mix. Season with salt and sugar. Add in turmeric powder and chilli powder. Cook for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes are soft. Next, add the cashews and 1/4 cup water.

To cook the Cauliflower 
Once the curry ingredients are mixed together in the Instant Pot, place a trivet in the centre. On that place the cauliflower. 

Press 'Cancel' and then press 'Pressure Cook' and adjust pressure to 'High'. Set time to 2 minutes and close the lid. Ensure that the valve is in 'sealing' position. 

Finishing off the dish
Once the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then do a quick release. Carefully remove the cauliflower and place on a baking tray. BROIL for 2 minutes in the oven and set aside.

Use an immersion blender and puree the gravy. Set the Instant Pot to 'Sauté'. Add the coconut milk. Once the gravy starts to boil; turn the Instant pot off.

To serve, transfer the gravy to a plate. Place the cauliflower on it and serve with Garlic Naan or Rice.