This is a Indo-Chinese staple, a totally Indian invention, a dish that would be a surprise to any Chinese in Beijing or Shanghai. Soft on the inside and a crispy coating outside, these balls melt in your mouth.
Manchurian was a mystery to me for the longest time. I had no idea how the vegetable and dough balls were made. Browsing thru blogosphere I found a few recipes and combined what I like to come up with a final recipe. And the results were great. This proportion makes about 20-22 vegetable balls. Leftover gravy will tend to thicken in the fridge. Just heat and the gravy will be flowing again. Here is the recipe...
For the Manchurian balls
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
2 cups very finely chopped mix of carrots, cauliflower, green peppers (I had some broccoli and red/yellow peppers so I used them)
4 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (maida)
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
Dash of chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Oil to fry
For the gravy
3 cups water
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/2 cup chopped green onions with stalks
6-7 cloves garlic
1 inch knob of ginger grated
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2-3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon red chili sauce
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Dash of sugar
1 tablespoon Oil
In a bowl mix all the ingredients to form the manchurian balls. It should be a little damp to touch and should form a ball when pressed in hand. Take a fistful and bind tightly to shape the mixture into 1 inch balls. If the mixture is too dry to bind, add an additional teaspoon of water.
Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the balls on low- medium heat till they are golden brown. These balls can be eaten as a snack with a side of ketchup or sweet and sour sauce.
In another wok, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the onions (keep aside some greens for garnish), garlic and ginger and sauté on high heat. Add the spices, sauces and water and bring to a boil. Check for salt and add as necessary as the soy sauce will also add salt to the dish.
Just before serving, take 2 tablespoons of water and dissolve the cornflour in it. Add to the gravy and bring to a boil while stirring. Heat till the gravy has a shine to it.
Then add the balls to the the gravy and garnish with the onion greens.
Serve hot with Chinese Fried Rice or steamed rice.
To make a dry manchurian, reduce the quantity of water to 3/4 cup, corn flour to 1/2 tablespoon and then proceed as above.