Lockdown recipe: Vegetable manchurian gravy

Manchurian among other Indian Chinese recipes were apparently invented by the Chinese community living in eastern India. You must have tried chicken manchurian, gobi manchurian etc at restaurants, and today’s blog is about mixed veggie manchurian.

A common favourite – veg manchurian, is a beloved Indo-chinese dish often cooked with celery and spring onions. But I dropped them out. Why? Well, because my kitchen, my rules!

Jokes aside, I didn’t have either in store. Like all the previous recipe blogs, this one is also a simpler version to prepare with what you have in the kitchen. I used finely chopped tomatoes, capsicum and peas instead. This vegetarian dish is packed with flavours of garlic, ginger, soy sauce and chilli. Those who grimace at the thought of vegetables, be prepared to be amazed by this one!

Ingredients

Cabbage (chopped) – 3 cups
Carrots – 1 medium
Onions – 2 medium
Capsicum – 1 small
Garlic (crushed and chopped) – 2 cloves
Ginger – 2tsp
Vegetable oil
All-purpose flour/ Maida
Cornflour
Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
Tomatoes – 3 medium (chopped)
Peas – 2tbsp
Salt and Sugar to taste

Method

  • In a large mixing bowl add in the finely chopped and blanched cabbage, 1 thinly sliced onion and ginger, finely cubed carrots and capsicum.
  • Add salt and crushed pepper
  • Add about 3 tbsp of maida and 1 tbsp cornflour and mix everything well
  • The flour will act as a binding agent to the vegetable mixture and will ensure the vegetable balls remain in shape
  • Make small balls from the mixture and place them in a plate.
  • Heat oil in a pan, and deep fry the balls. Keep aside.
  • Now heat about 2tbsp oil in a pan, and add the garlic, onions and 1 chilli, and thinly sliced ginger and saute for 2 mins
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, add salt and pepper, and saute till they become soft
  • Add the peas, capsicum, and carrots and mix well. Add 2cups water. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 2-3 mins.
  • Add 1tbsp of schezwan sauce, soy sauce, and 1tbsp sugar. Mix well
  • Mix 2tsp cornflour with 2tbsp water, and add it to the gravy to give it that silky and slightly thick consistency.
  • Stir well, and let it cook for another 2 mins
  • Add the vegetable balls to the gravy, give it a gentle stir, cover with a lid. Switch off the gas.
  • Serve hot with noodles or fried rice.

Things to note

  • If you want the veg balls to be crispy, use bread crumbs instead of flour.
  • Adding chopped vegetables in the gravy is optional, you may choose to make the gravy without the veggies.
  • Tread carefully with the amount of salt in the dish. We’re adding salt and pepper while preparing the balls; then we ate also adding salt while making the gravy. However, remember we are using a couple of readymade sauces which come with an addition of salt. Soy sauce, especially, is pretty salty. Therefore, add salt to the gravy carefully, and taste when needed to make sure you are not overdoing it.
  • The sugar is used to balance the acidity from the tomatoes and the sauces.
  • Do not cool the veggie balls too long in the gravy, as they’d become soggy and fall apart.
  • This dish goes best with fried rice, but if you lose patience after preparing the Manchurian (just like me), you can simply eat it with plain/steamed rice, like it did in the end.

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