Non-Fried Manchurian

This has been one of my favourite dishes growing up in India. When we speak about Indian fast food restaurants, Manchurian is one that comes on top of the list. A cuisine we call Indo-Chinese. Manchurian is the result of the adaptation of Chinese cooking and seasoning techniques to suit Indian tastes and has now become a staple of Indian Chinese cuisine. It is a thick dark soya and corn flour based gravy with a mush of vegetable balls that are usually deep fried. However, I have used the Paniyaram/Appam Pan to cook this.

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Total cook time: 1.5 hours

Servings: 4 (21 manchurian balls)


For Manchurian Balls:

  • 500 gms cabbage (grated or blended without adding any water to finely chop it)
  • 100 gms carrot (about 1 ½ carrot – grated or blended with no water)
  • 3 spring onions (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour (or plain flour)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (or more if the dough is too sticky)
  • 1 chopped green chilli
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 tsp ginger (grated or chopped)
  • 3 pinches of baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp oil for frying each manchurian ball (Note: you can also deep fry these balls – use enough oil to deep fry)

For Manchurian Gravy:

  • Manchurian Balls (ingredients above – ensure they are cooled before adding to the sauce)
  • Sauce: 3 tbsp dark soya sauce + 1-2 tbsp vinegar + 1 tbsp ketchup (Adjust as per taste)
  • 2 spring onions (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander (with stems)
  • ½ onion (chopped)
  • ½ pepper (chopped)
  • 3 tsp cornflour mixed with 3 tbsp water to form a slurry
  • 1-2 green chillies (chopped)
  • 8-10 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 inch ginger (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp oil to cook
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Water as required


For Manchurian Balls

  1. In a bowl, add the cabbage, carrots, spring onion and salt and mix.
  2. Leave aside for 10 minutes as the vegetables begin to release water.
  3. Transfer the mixture on a muslin cloth. If you do not have a muslin cloth, you can squeeze it in a strainer.

4. Squeeze about 50% of the water into a bowl. Ensure that you do not squeeze out all the water or the mixture will not bind in the next few steps.

5. Transfer the mixture back to the bowl.

6. Add the whole wheat flour, cornflour, chopped chilli, ginger, garlic, baking soda and baking powder.

7. Combine well to form a dough. If the dough feels too sticky, you can add 1 tbsp more of cornflour. This is especially important if you are deep frying as the balls can break apart if it is too wet and sticky.

8. Shape the mixture into about ¾ to 1-inch balls. You should be able to make about 21 in total. I weigh out the dough and divide my balls by weight to ensure they are even but you can do it by eye as well!

9. Heat the Paniyaram pan with ½ tsp oil in each hole.

10. Once hot, cook the Manchurian balls on medium-high heat in each hole turning them around until they are evenly brown and crispy. This should take about 15-18 minutes for each batch.
Note: If you are deep frying, fry them in batches until they turn golden and crispy.

11. Repeat until all the balls are cooked and keep aside to cool. Note: It is important that they are completely cool before adding to the sauce.

For Manchurian Gravy

  1. In a non-stick pan, heat the oil.
  2. Once hot, add the ginger, garlic, chillies, chopped pepper and onion and cook on medium heat until the onions turn translucent and peppers become soft. This should take about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the spring onion and coriander and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

4. Next, add the sauce mixture (2 tbsp soya sauce, 1-2 tbsp vinegar and 1 tbsp ketchup) and mix.

5. Add about 150 ml water and cook until the water boils.

6. Add the Manchurian balls in and keep stirring on medium heat to allow the sauce to coat them all.

7. Add the cornflour slurry and keep stirring on high heat. The gravy will start to thicken in about 3-4 minutes. It will thicken more as it cools down. You can adjust the sauce proportions as per your taste.

8. Finally, add salt and pepper and mix. Enjoy with fried rice or noodles!

Hope you enjoy this!


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