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! 


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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.  


Ingredients

For the Vegetable Balls

Carrot 1/4 cup, diced finely
Cabbage 1 cup, shredded
G
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


Method

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!


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