For Veg Manchurian Balls
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup finely chopped cabbage
¼ cup finely chopped onions
½ teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper or black pepper powder or white pepper powder
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornflour (corn starch)
½ teaspoon salt or add as per taste
oil as required, for shallow or deep frying
For Corn Starch Or Cornflour Paste
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons water
For Manchurian Gravy Or Sauce
1 to 1.5 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 green chillies – finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped capsicum (green bell pepper) – optional
½ tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
2 to 3 teaspoons red chilli sauce (spicy and not sweet)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 to 1.25 cups water
½ teaspoon black pepper powder
salt to taste
¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon spring onion greens for garnishing
Making Veg Manchurian Balls
Take the finely chopped or grated veggies in a bowl.
Then add the dry ingredients – corn starch, all-purpose flour (maida), black pepper and salt.
Mix and gather the whole mixture together. Then kind of mix and knead so that the veggies leave water and you get a dough-like mixture. But do not knead like that a bread or roti dough. Gluten strands can form that will give a dense chewy texture in the fried veggie balls. So just mix very well and press so that the veggies release their juices.
Then take a small portion of the mixture in your hands.
Press and roll it in your palm and make a round veggie ball. You can spread some oil on your palms while making the vegetable balls.
Make all veggie balls this way and keep aside.
Frying Veggie Balls
Heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or pan. Add a small piece of a ball to the hot oil. If the balls does not stick or settle down at the bottom of the pan, but comes up steadily the oil is ready for frying these veg manchurian balls. If the balls break, then some more binding agent is required. So you can add 2 to 3 teaspoons of some more all purpose flour (maida).
Gently place the balls in the hot oil. The oil has to be medium hot. Too much heat and the manchurian balls will be browned from top and uncooked from inside. Less hot oil will make the balls absorb too much of oil.
When cooked from one side, turn the balls with a slotted spoon.
Fry the balls till crisp and golden.
Remove them with a slotted or perforated spoon and drain as much as oil as possible.
Place the fried veg manchurian balls on kitchen paper towels. For a low fat version, you can cook the veggie balls in an appe-appam pan or æbleskiver pan.
Fry the veg manchurian balls this way in batches and keep aside.
Making Manchurian Gravy
In a small bowl take the following three sauces – soy sauce, tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce.
Mix the sauces very well and keep aside.
In another small bowl take 1 tablespoon cornflour and 2 tablespoons water. Mix very well and keep aside.
Heat 1 to 1.5 tablespoons oil in a pan or wok. Add the chopped spring onions, finely chopped ginger, finely chopped garlic, finely chopped green chilies and finely chopped capsicum. Adding capsicum is optional. Stir fry on medium flame till the onions turn translucent.
Now add the mixed sauces. Stir and mix very well.
Add 1 to 1.25 cups water. Let the mixture come to a boil.
Mix the cornflour paste again in the bowl (as the cornflour settles at the bottom) and then add in the pan.
As soon as you add cornflour paste, mix very well so that there are no lumps.
Continue to stir and mix when the veg manchurian gravy is cooking. Simmer till the sauce thickens and you see a glaze in it. There should be no raw taste of the cornflour in the sauce. Cooking sauce or gravy takes about 3 to 4 minutes on a medium flame. If the sauce is too thick, then you add some water. If it is too thin, then you can add some cornflour.
When the veg manchurian sauce thickens, add ½ teaspoon black pepper powder.
Season with a bit of salt. Do keep in mind that the soy sauce, chilli sauce and tomato ketchup already has salt in it. So add less salt and as per your taste preferences.
Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar. Mix very well.
Then add the fried veg manchurian balls. Also add 1 teaspoon of Rice vinegar or regular vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Gently stir and coat the veg manchurian balls in the gravy.
Switch off the flame add chopped spring onion greens.
Serve veg manchurian hot garnished with some spring onion greens. This manchurian gravy goes well with veg fried rice, plain rice and even bread or the chapati or rotis.