Veg Manchurian is a tasty Indochinese dish consisting of fried vegetarian dumplings in a spicy, sweet and tangy sauce. There are 2 main variations of making Manchurian vegetables.
- Veg Manchurian Sauce (with Gravy) – It makes for a delicious Chinese main course and goes best with jeera rice, schezwan fried rice or steamed rice.
- Veg Manchurian Dry – A great starter snack or as a side dish with hakka noodles or a chow mein.
Both recipes taste great. You can do either as per your choice.
About this recipe
The manchurian veg sauce recipe has a gravy or sauce in which the fried vegetable balls are chunked and soaked.
The sauce has a mix of wide flavors and tastes like salty, sour, spicy, sweet and umami. The recipe is also vegan.
Manchurian in Indian language is a term for fried meat (fish or shrimp or chicken) or fried vegetables in this spicy-umami sauce.
You can also name the sauce as Manchurian sauce. Manchuria and many other Chinese Indian recipes were a creation of the Chinese community living in Kolkata.
This Chinese style of cooking has been widely adapted in the Indian plate and also to have more vegetarian options in the kitchen.
I love Indo-Chinese cuisine. At home, I loved making Chinese food so much that in my teenage years I often made three of my favorite Indo Chinese recipes – Chili Paneer, Corn Soup, and Vegetable Manchuria.
Like all of my recipes, the Manchu recipe mentioned here is a proven recipe. The result was a delicious vegetarian manchurian which was good with steamed rice.
How to make manchurian veg sauce
For easy reading, I have divided this article into 3 parts.
- Step 1 – Make vegetarian Manchurian balls
- Step 2 – Fry Manchurian Vegetable Balls
- Step 3 – Make a Manchurian gravy or sauce
Let’s begin with step 1 – Make vegetable balls
1. In a bowl, take the finely chopped or grated vegetables. You will need ¼ cup finely chopped bell pepper (green pepper), ¼ cup finely chopped green beans, ½ cup finely chopped red cabbage, ½ cup grated carrot and ¼ cup finely chopped spring onions. Instead of red or purple cabbage, you can also add regular collard greens.
2. Then add the dry ingredients – ½ teaspoon of black pepper, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour (maida) and ½ teaspoon of salt or add as needed.
3. Mix and collect all the mixture. Then stir and mix so that the vegetables leave the water and you have a dough-like mixture. But don’t knead like bread or roast dough. Gluten strands can be formed which give a dense chewy texture to fried vegetarian dumplings. So mix very well and press so that the vegetables release their juice.
4. Then take a small mixture portion in your hands.
5. Press and round it in your palm and make a round veggie ball.
6. Prepare all the vegetable balls same way and keep them aside. On your palms, you can spread the oil while making the vegetable balls.
Step 2 – fry vegetable balls
7. For frying, heat oil in a kadai or pan. Add a little of scoop to the hot oil. If the balls do not stick or settle at the bottom of the pan, but come up frequently, the oil is heated to fry the veggie balls. If the balls break, a little more binder is needed. So you can add 2-3 teaspoons more of all-purpose flour (maida).
8. Place the balls easily into the hot oil. The oil should be moderately hot. Too much heat and the Manchurian balls will be golden from the top and uncooked from the inside. Less hot oil will cause the balls to absorb very much oil.
9. When cooked on one side, turn the balls with a slotted spoon.
10. Fry the balls until crisp and golden, turning them many times. Remove them with a perforated or slotted spoon and drain as much of the oil as possible.
11. Keep the fried Manchurian balls on paper towels. You can cook the vegetable balls in an appe-appam pan or æbleskiver pan for a low-fat version. Fry the vegetable balls same way in batches and keep them aside.
Step 3: Prepare the sauce
12. In a small bowl, take the following three sauces – ½ tbsp soy sauce (or 1.5 teaspoon soy sauce), 1 tbsp tomato ketchup, 2-3 teaspoons sauce with red pepper. The red chili sauce is spicy and unsweetened.
13. Stir the sauces very well and set aside.
14. Take 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (corn starch) and 2 tablespoons of water in another small bowl. Mix very well and set aside.
15. In a frying pan or wok, heat 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of oil. Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger, 4 tablespoons of chopped green onions (scallions), 2 green chilies (finely chopped) and ¼ cup of finely chopped bell pepper (bell pepper green).
Adding capsicum is optional. You can use any neutral tasting oil or toasted sesame oil or sunflower oil.
16. Sauté until the onions become translucent over medium heat.
17. Now add the mixed sauces.
18. Stir and mix very well.
19. Add 1 to 1.25 cups of water.
20. Let the mixture boil.
21. In the bowl, mix the cornmeal dough again (while the cornmeal settles to the bottom), then add it to the pan.
22. As soon as you add the cornmeal paste, stir very well so that no lumps are formed.
23. Keep mixing and stirring while the Manchurian sauce cooks. Simmer until the Manchurian sauce becomes thick and you see a glaze in it. In the sauce, there should be no raw taste of cornstarch.
It takes about 3 to 4 minutes for cooking the sauce or gravy over medium heat. If the sauce is too thick, add water. You can add cornstarch if it is too thin.
24. When the Manchurian sauce becomes thick, add ½ teaspoon of black pepper powder.
25. Season with a little salt. Remember that chili sauce, soy sauce, and tomato ketchup already contain salt. So add less salt or as per your taste.
26. If needed, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of sugar or more. Mix very well.
27. Then add the fried vegetable balls. Add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or regular vinegar also.
28. Stir gently and coat the fried vegetable balls in the sauce.
29. Switch off the flame and add the greens of chopped green onions.
30. Serve hot Manchurian vegetable sauce garnished with little scallion greens. It pairs well with noodles or schezwan fried rice or steamed rice or vegetable fried rice and even bread or roti.
- Grated or Chopped Vegetables: To make Manchurian vegetables, you need grated or chopped vegetables like cabbage, carrots, peppers, beans, and spring onions (green onions). So you can chop the vegetables in a food processor or using a knife. But your time will be saved by using a food processor.
- Soy Sauce: It is best to use natural soy sauce. Even you can use bragg liquid aminos or tamari. While making a recipe with soy sauce, I would suggest using Bragg liquid aminos or naturally brewed soy sauce or tamari.
- Tomato Ketchup – Use good quality of ketchup or homemade ketchup.
- Red Chilli Sauce – A red chili sauce is added to add a little heat and spiciness. Note that instead of red chili sauce you can use sriracha sauce.
- Gluten-free options – In place of cornstarch (corn flour), use potato starch or tapioca starch to bind the flour. Use chickpea flour (besan or chickpea flour) or rice flour instead of all-purpose flour (maida).
- No MSG (Ajinomoto) – I don’t add ajinomoto or msg in any of the recipes I make. If you want, you can add a little to this recipe.
- Serving Suggestions – Veg Manchurian sauce pairs well with fried rice, noodles or Schezwan fried rice or steamed rice or vegetable noodles. You can also serve him bread or naan or roti or soft rolls.
About dry Manchuria
Veg Manchurian Dry is a crispy snack made from fried vegetable balls mixed with a spicy, sweet and tangy Manchurian sauce.
It is one of the dishes that we order in an Indo-Chinese restaurant when we have dinner. From my childhood, it is one of my favorite dishes. I’ve been making vegetarian manchurian since I was a teenager. I do both the gravy and the dry versions.
Occasionally I make this version of dry Manchuria as a side dish with vegetable noodles.
The only time one participates in the making of Manchurian pulses is grating or chopping the vegetables. The recipe therefore takes time to prepare with the frying of the vegetable balls then the preparation of the sauce.
For less work, you can make the vegetable balls the day before and use them the next day. You can even use a food processor or chopper to make your job easier.
Serve Veg Manchurian Dry as a side dish or as a starter snack with Hakka noodles or Veg Chow Mein.