Vegetable Manchurian with gravy

By DK on Jun 25, 2010
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
For a long time, I believed that Gobi/Vegetable Manchurian was a Chinese dish. I am sure I have, at least more than a few, fellow Indians backing me up on that. I remember visiting my first ever authentic Chinese restaurant and being amazed at the menu. 'Cos it was nothing like I was aware or comfortable with. I was ready to question the authenticity of the restaurant rather my own judgment! Naivety to the core ;) It took a bit of reading to know, what I thought was authentic, was no where close to the reality. It was an amazing Indian's mindset to bring out such mind boggling "Chinese" dishes on to the Indian soil customizing it in such a way that it did not feel "blech".  The Indo-Chinese fusion is one craze that exists to date where Indians enjoy an encore of dishes.
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
Among such recipes, this Vegetable Manchurian is one such gem. Vegetable Balls deep fried and served on a gravy accompanied by fried rice or noodles.  Perfect! Except that for me personally there is one small hitch. Deep frying! :(  I am not among those who shy away from deep frying completely looking at it as if its a sin or something. I enjoy my deep fried goodies - but try to keep it at minimum. I don't believe in skipping anything - just enjoying everything in moderation. And there is always Gym or local park to burn away those additional calories right? Better this method than skipping it altogether is my motto. But there are many recipes out there where additional fat is just not required. If you can achieve almost the same results with a healthier method, then why not? Like these Balls for instance. Instead of deep frying soaking up all that oil, or baking it that it ends up "looking" and "tasting" like healthy and not like the real thing - I choose to go the middle route. Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy Yup, out with my Pancake Puff pan (Kuzhi Paniyaram Pan in Tamil). Those have been a blessing in disguise for such a long time. I have made Koftas, bondas and god knows what else with them with so much little oil.  My better half loves all good food, but he of course does not mind cutting out unnecessary fat. So in order to keep him happy, I make use of these pans for such similar recipes. Enjoy them guilt free - your family and your health will thank you for it :) I have added colorful variety of vegetables - Like I say often enough, vibrant looking dishes not only are pleasing to the eye and palate but also nutrition wise. But go ahead and use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
Basic Information
Prep Time: Under 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Serves: 2 people
Yield: Makes around 12-15 koftas depending on the shape
  • For Koftas (balls)
  • 1/4 cup purple cabbage,grated
  • 1/4 cup carrots, grated
  • 1/4 cup frozen beans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup paneer, grated
  • 1 potato, steamed and mashed (or boil it)
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy flour, as needed (or use cornflour)
  • 1 green chilli, thinly sliced (or as per taste)
  • 1-2 garlic, minced (as per taste)
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
  • little salt and pepper (remember the gravy will need salt too)
  • For the Manchurian Gravy/Sauce
  • 2-3 garlic, minced(as per taste)
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 spring onions, greens and whites separated
  • 1/4 cup mixed colored bell peppers, finely chopped (or use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1-2 green chilli, as per taste (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp Soy sauce (depending on the brand of soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp soy flour mixed with 1 cup of water (or cornflour)
  • about 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • salt to taste
Lets start with the Vegetarian Balls shall we? I have added as many colorful vegetables as possible. You can use whatever you have on hand. I also steam the potatoes and mash them with skin on to retain the nutrition. But you can choose to boil the vegetables like beans and peas. I went the shortcut route and used frozen (and thawed) beans and peas. Saves time for me :) Add all the ingredients for the balls together in a bowl
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
Mash them well with a masher or your hands until it comes together. It should be a firm dough holding enough for you to shape them into balls. If loose, add more soy flour or paneer to help it bind. If too tight, add few drops of water (or vegetable stock) to make them into required consistency. You can do a taste test at this point to see if the seasoning is right for you. Make sure the salt is little less. The gravy will have salt too and you don't want the dish to end up salty.
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
Shape them into small balls. Refrigerate them for about 15-20 minutes. Its an optional step, but I find it helps the balls to retain their shape while frying without breaking apart.
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
In a plate, add few tbsp of all purpose flour and coat the balls lightly with it. Dust off the excess. This is also optional but it helps to give it a nice crispy surface.
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
Heat your Pancake puff pan (Kuzhi Paniyaram Pan), add few tsp. of oil and when hot, drop your balls in it. The amount of oil needed would depend on the size of your ball. I think I used about 1 tsp of oil for frying up one ball completely on all sides. Make sure the oil is hot, otherwise the ball will fall apart. Oil should be med-high.
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
Rotate the ball on all sides to cook evenly on all sides. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
Meanwhile, lets prepare the gravy. In a skillet heat 1 tsp of oil. If you have a wok, it works great too. I used a non stick. When the oil starts smoking, add the ginger, garlic, onion whites, bell peppers, chilli and saute for few seconds.
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
Add 1 cup of water along with cornflour water, soy sauce, sugar, (v little salt since soy sauce is also salty - add salt only if necessary), half of spring onion greens. Simmer for few minutes until it all comes together as a gravy/ thick sauce. You can do a taste test and season with more salt/soy sauce if needed. Adjust the gravy as per your needs. To0 thick, add more water. Too runny, add a little more cornflour paste making sure that you season the gravy accordingly with increase in qty.
Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
Just before serving, add the vegetable balls to the sauce. You don't want to add it beforehand since the balls might disintegrate in the sauce. I served it with plain rice - but Vegetable Fried Rice / Vegetable Hakka Noodles would be perfect with it. Indo-chinese Vegetable Manchurian Recipe with gravy
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31 Responses to “Vegetable Manchurian with gravy”
  1. Lavanya

    hi Dhivya Im a regular reader of ur recipes & this one using the kuzhi paniyaram pan is so innovative & gives me an excuse to use mine. My husband is a fanatic of chinese & even though i make his noodles i always fall short of the side dish. This would be awesome. Thanks

  2. Wow…your use of the Paniyarakkal is too innovative…I will use it for saving my effort for many other recipes…awesome.

  3. Divya

    Lovely recipes, right from the tom yum in the thai section to the manchurian. The best part is that you have kept all of them vegetarian, which , u just cant imagine is such a big boon to me! Have just moved to bangkok. Love their food, but am a south indian brahmin, dont eat even eggs. Your website is just samma awesome! Am going to try every recipe possible. In fact, will check everyday and plan my dinner menu from here. Love you!! You dont know how many you inspire. God bless!

    Thanks for putting a huge smile on my face…me samma happy :) :) –DK

  4. kalyani

    HI, inspite of cornflour or soy flour can i use any other flour like maida or rice flour

  5. It is great, love it so much………….

  6. Mini

    Can I use corn starch instead of corn flour? What should be the proportion for corn starch? Is it same as corn flour?

  7. Swa

    Is the pancake pan same as the appam pan we get in india

  8. indu

    no deep fry, healthy veggies, easy steps and great taste.. thanks dk.. want to see more like this.

  9. Bhagyashri

    Should I deepfry the balls instead of this pan.Pls clear :-P

  10. shirisha

    :!: :-P very good Yummy! and Healthy!love it.

  11. This looks like such a good meal! Could I make it without paneer?

    Oh yes!

  12. swa

    will baking the balls in a oven as suggested by you give the same taste to this dish

  13. swa

    how to make dry veg manchurian. i dont like it with graVY

  14. aparna

    what r bell peppers?


  15. swa

    thanks for replying. instead of using this pan what is the other option. can i steam the balls in an idli stand. i donot want gto fry these. all your recipes are fabulous. can u give me recipe for kaju barfi please

    This is similar to Koftas and they cannot be made by way of steaming. The only thing you can do to counter frying is Baking them in the oven till they brown and crisp. You want them browned not steamed hence idli stand will not work.

  16. Jay

    Do we need to steam the frozen beans and peas or can it be used as such?

    Can be used directly to make the dough – like I showed in the first pic. As I also mentioned, just thaw it. No need to cook them separately

  17. swa

    still waiting for a reply to my query. what is kuzhi panayam pan. can i steam these in idli stand

    Chk this to know more about the pan – This pan is made with cast iron and is placed on top of the heat source directly hence Idli pan cannot be used.

  18. swa

    what is kuzhi paniyaram pan. i am in zurich and i dont have this pan. what to do

  19. Kavitha

    Very good use of the pan….will try this for sure..wonderful idea!!:)

  20. Smitha Mascarenhas

    While reading your post, I too remembered how my misconception reg. chinese food was shattered when we visited a Chinese Restaurant in Abudhabi for the first time. Because none of the items in the menu was familiar. :oops: In India, most Chinese Restaurants serve food to suit Indian taste and we never bother about the authenticity. One more rule is never to order Chinese food from an Indian eatery. They taste yuck…..

  21. Lovely delicious dish….

  22. Beautiful presentation and good clicks.

  23. Very true about the Chinese -Manchurian connection..I too was on the same though that this was a Chinese dish till the day I landed in China but no where have I seen anything similar to this one :).Very clever to use kuzhi paniyaram pan for the vegetable balls!!!Looks delicious..

  24. Ann

    wow….that looks delicious. i made it 4 days back n now feel like havin it again. I add a lil soy,green chilli n red chilli sauce to the veg balls tho…………..
    ah!! loved d idea of using that skillet :) tnx for sharin

  25. viji

    sound yumm dhivs..will try it sometime….me and sid love chinese you know ;)

  26. Yummy! and Healthy!love it.

  27. Droolworthy dish, wat a fabulous idea of cooking the manchurian balls in paniyaram pan..

  28. Veg manchurian looks delicious, love the idea of cooking it in a paniyaram pan !

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