Veg manchurian recipe made with mixed vegetables, soya sauce, tomato sauce & pantry ingredients. Chinese vegetable manchurian is a popular dish from Indo-chinese cuisine. The term Manchuria refers to a region in North East China and people from that region were known as Manchus or Manchurians. The first Indian-Chinese manchurian dish (made with chicken) was born in 1975 in the Chinese restaurants of India which looked similar to the dishes from Manchu cuisine.
Since a wider population of Indians are vegetarians eventually many vegetarian versions were born. Gobi manchurian, veg manchurian, Paneer manchurian and mushroom manchuria are some popular versions of this dish.
About veg manchurian
Veg manchurian is an Indian-Chinese appetizer where crisp fried vegetable balls are dunked in slightly sweet, sour and hot manchurian sauce. These balls are super delicious & crisp, the sauce is even more addictive and tasty. Manchurian can be made to a dry, semi-dry or gravy dish.
The dry & the semi-dry manchurian is mostly relished as an appetizer while the manchurian gravy is served as a side with fried rice or hakka noodles. Vegetable manchurian makes for a great dish for parties, family dinners or weekend dinners.
In this post I share a easy recipe to make perfectly delicious veg manchurian where the balls turn out to be crisp and light, with a super flavorful and finger-licking good manchurian sauce. I also share tips and tricks to make a perfectly smoky sauce where you will taste & smell the real Chinese flavors.
With this recipe you can make dry, semi-dry or gravy versions. If making the gravy version, I suggest using bread crumbs to keep the balls crisp for longer. You won’t taste the bread in the balls but the bread crumbs will soak up the excess moisture from the veggies and keep them crisp longer.
More details in the step by step instructions below. If you are making this for a party, then add the balls to the manchurian gravy just before serving. This way they remain crisp for longer.
I have adapted this veg manchurian recipe from this chicken manchurian recipe on the blog.
How to make veg manchurian (stepwise photos)
1. It is good not to use vegetables from refrigerator as they let out lot of moisture and the veg balls will not turn crispy. I usually keep the veggies out of refrigerator the previous day.
2. Cut cabbage to large cubes and add them to luke warm water. Allow to rest for 3 to 4 mins. Drain completely and allow to air dry until used. Chop finely. I prefer to air dry on a cotton cloth after chopping.
Prepare veggies for balls
1¼ cups cabbage fine chopped
¼ cup spring onions fine chopped
¼ cup beans (optional) fine chopped
½ cup grated carrot (1 medium)
2 tablespoons grated or minced bell peppers
Grate 2 garlic cloves and half inch ginger (1 teaspoon paste).
3.Prepare veggies for the sauce
fine chop ½ tablespoon ginger & ¾ tablespoon garlic
¼ cup spring onions fine chopped
¼ cup bell peppers chopped
Making veg balls
4. Before you begin to make the balls, begin to heat the oil in a kadai / deep pan. If you do not intend to use bread crumbs in the recipe, this step is very crucial.
The balls that are made without using bread crumbs have to straight away go for frying else they will let out moisture and the balls will not turn crispy or may even break.
5. Add chopped cabbage, carrot, beans,capsicum and spring onions to a mixing bowl. Next add very little salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and ginger garlic paste. Do not add more salt as it will let out more moisture from the veggies.
6. Then add 3 tablespoons cornstarch (corn flour) and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (maida).
7. Mix gently to bind the ingredients.
8. Make the balls without squeezing the mixture a lot. These balls will be soft and you may also need to grease your palms if the mixture is sticky.
But if the balls do not hold shape, then it is not good to go ahead and fry as they may break in the oil.
Some variety of veggies especially tender ones, frozen or from cold storage let out lot of moisture and will break the balls while frying.
Bread crumbs for manchurian balls
9. You can also add ¼ to ½ cup bread crumbs for extra crisp texture. If you intend to make this for a party, then do use them. This will help the balls to remain crisp for at least 2 hours. You can make these ahead and dunk in the sauce just before serving.
Veg manchurian balls made without bread crumbs are good to serve immediately after making as they do not remain crisp for longer. Any amount of cornstarch or maida / plain flour will not do the job of bread crumbs.
10. These balls will be firmer and less sticky. For this recipe you will get about 12 to 14 balls depending on the size.
Frying balls for manchurian
11. Heat oil in a kadai. Gently slide a small portion of dough to the oil to check if it is hot enough. The dough has to rise steadily without browning. This is the right temperature. Fry veg balls immediately on a medium flame. Leave them untouched until they firm up in the oil, if you have not used bread crumbs. Later stir often to fry them evenly.
12. Drain them to a kitchen tissue when they turn golden and crisp. These balls take long time to fry, so it is good to discard the oil used for frying.
13. I prefer my Indo chinese dishes to be brighter in color rather than brownish so I use red chili powder or paste. This is optional. You can make a fine paste of ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chilli powder with very little water. Set this aside.
14. Dissolve corn starch
For veg Manchurian gravy: Dissolve ¾ tablespoon of cornstarch with ¼ cup of water.
Manchurian dry: Dissolve 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoon of water. Set this aside.
Making manchurian sauce
15. Heat up a wok with 1½ tablespoons of fresh oil. Saute chopped ¾ tablespoon garlic and ½ tablespoon ginger for a min. For the great smoky Chinese flavors use a carbon steel wok & cook from here on a highest flame until you add the sauces at a later step.
16. Add ¼ cup spring onions and ¼ cup finely chopped capsicum. Saute for 1 to 2 mins on the highest flame possible without burning. This imparts a unique aroma to the sauce.
17. Add 1 tablespoon soya sauce or tamari. You can add more or less to suit your taste.
18. Add 2 tablespoons red chili sauce (or any hot sauce) and 1 tablespoon tomato sauce/ ketchup (optional). Adjust to suit your taste.
19. This step is optional. Stir the red chili paste and pour it. Use a milder variety chili powder like kashmiri.
20. Make sure the flame is low. Stir the cornstarch mixture and pour it to the pan.
21. Next stir immediately.
22. Pour 1 cup water for gravy version and half cup water for dry version and stir well. I am making a gravy here.
23. Taste this and then add vinegar, sugar, pepper & salt, everything to suit your taste. The manchurian sauce has to be slightly sour, sweet and very very mildly hot.
24. Keep stirring and cook on a medium flame until the sauce thickens. Sauce will thicken upon cooling. So the right consistency is when it is slightly thick. Taste test and add more soya sauce or chilli sauce or tomato ketchup to suit your taste.
25. Do not add the balls to very hot sauce. Allow it to cool down a bit for about 5 to 7 mins. Add the balls to the manchurian sauce just before you serve. If the sauce turns very thick, you can add little hot water and stir.
Garnish veg manchurian with spring onions.
- For authentic Chinese smoky flavors use a carbon steel wok and stir fry on a highest flame until you add the sauces, then turn down the flame and cook further.
- Do not add a lot of flour or starch to the mixed veggies as they make the manchurian balls hard. Instead you can add bread crumbs.
- Adding too much of bread crumbs will alter the taste of the balls. You should not have the dominating taste of bread in the balls. So add more only if needed.
- The manchurian balls can be fried in the paniyaram pan, just skip the flour and beans. Use only the bread crumbs. Fry them on a medium flame turning them all around for even cooking.
- If frying the balls in the paniyaram pan then, ensure you do not make the balls too big. I cook these in a cast iron paniyaram pan so they cook well inside but I am not sure if they turn out good in a non stick.
Veg manchurian recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
For manchurian balls
- 1 ¼ cup cabbage finely chopped
- ½ cup carrot grated (1 medium)
- ¼ cup French beans (finely chopped, can skip but adds flavor)
- 2 tablespoons capsicum grated or minced
- ¼ cup spring onions finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch (white corn flour)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (maida) (prefer organic)
- ¼ to ½ cup bread crumbs (optional, for extra crisp, refer notes)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper crushed
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 2 pinches salt (very little)
- Oil as needed for frying
For manchurian sauce
- 1½ tablespoons oil
- ¾ tablespoon garlic finely chopped
- ½ tablespoon ginger finely chopped
- ¼ cup spring onions finely chopped
- ¼ cup bell peppers (capsicum) finely chopped
- 1 tablespoons soya sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons red chili sauce (or any hot sauce, adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoon ketchup (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar or as needed (or apple cider vinegar)
- ¾ tablespoon cornstarch (white corn flour or arrowroot powder (1 tsp for dry)
- ¼ cup water to dissolve cornstarch(2 tbsps for dry)
- 1 cup water or veg stock for gravy (½ cup for dry)
- salt as needed
- 1 to 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper coarsely crushed
optional for color
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chili powder or 1 tsp red chili paste (optional, used for color)
- 1 ½ tablespoons water to make chili paste
Preparation for manchurian
- Allow the veggies to come to room temperature first.
- Cut cabbage to 4 quarters and keep them immersed in luke warm water for 3 to 4 mins.
- Drain the water and rinse them well. Drain and chop them finely.
- Air dry the cabbage for a while to remove excess moisture.
- You can also process all the veggies in a food processor.
- Wash and peel the carrots and grate them.
- Chop the beans, spring onions & bell peppers. Mince the ginger and garlic.
Making veg balls
- Add the prepared veggies, cornstarch, plain flour, ginger garlic paste, pepper & salt to a mixing bowl. Mix everything well.
- You can also add bread crumbs to make the balls extra crisp.
- Mix everything well and make lemon sized balls. The balls must bind well without breaking.
- You can also optionally roll these balls in corn starch.
- You can make about 12 to 14 balls. Set aside all the vegetable balls.
- Frying balls – Heat oil in a deep pan for deep frying.
- Check if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small portion of the dough in hot oil.
- The dough has to come up without browning. This is the right temperature.
- Gently slide the balls in hot oil & fry on a medium flame.
- Do not disturb them for 1 min after the balls are dropped in oil.
- They will be delicate and may break if you have not used bread crumbs.
- After few seconds of frying, you can keep stirring and fry until they turn golden.
- Drain them on a kitchen tissue.
- Baking in Oven – Preheat the oven and bake the balls on a greased wire rack placed over a tray at 200 C for 20 to 23 mins.
- Turn them to the other sides after every 8 mins.
- Please be alert as the timings may vary depending on the size of the balls.
Making manchurian sauce
- Heat oil in a pan, then add ginger garlic and saute for a min.
- Add spring onions and capsicum. Saute for 1 to 2 mins on a high flame without burning.
- While these fry dissolve cornstarch in water.
- Lower the heat, then add soya sauce, red chilli sauce, tomato ketchup and red chilli paste.
- Stir the cornstarch mixture with a spoon and pour it to the pan.
- Next stir gently and pour water. Stir and taste the mixture.
- Add vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar all to suit your taste.
- The sauce should taste slightly sour, hot and sweet.
- Keep stirring and cook on a medium flame until the sauce thickens.
- Do not cook till very thick. The sauce will thicken further after cooling.
- Switch off the stove and allow the sauce to cool for 1 to 2 mins.
- Boiling hot sauce will make the veg balls soft and will lose the crispness.
How to make veg manchurian
- Add the veg balls to the sauce just before serving. Garnish with spring onions.
- Serve veg manchurian with veg fried rice or noodles.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes