Vegetable Manchurian is a dish that is unique to India. The Chinese cuisine served in India bear little resemblance to the traditional Chinese cuisine. Vegetable and cauliflower Manchurian are popular vegetarian dishes in Indo-Chinese restaurants in India, which use Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques but tweak them to suit Indian palates. Chinese cuisine was introduced to India by the Chinese of Hakka origin who settled in the Eastern parts of India. According to Wikipedia, this dish was the creation of Nelson Wang, a successful Indian restaurateur in 1975. He used all the basic ingredients of Indian cooking like ginger, garlic and green chilies and used soy sauce instead of garam masala to give this dish a Chinese touch.
Mine is a semi–homemade version, which I really like because I don’t have to deal with deep frying the veggie balls in my kitchen. I buy the meatless meat balls from Trader Joe’s which is completely vegan and cook them in the sauces given in this recipe and vegetable manchurian is ready in minutes. I have served this in several dinner parties and it has always been a big hit. Manchurian can be prepared dry or with sauce. Dry version is usually served as an appetizer and the one with sauce is served along side noodles or rice.
12 vegan meat balls ( I used Trader Joe’s meatless meat balls)
1 bunch green onions/spring onions, white and green parts chopped separately
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 Thai green chili, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1.5 teaspoons chili sauce ( I used sriracha)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar ( I didn’t use)
2 teaspoons oil
1. Cook meatless meat balls according to package instructions and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large wok on high flame. When oil is hot, add minced garlic and stir fry for few seconds.
3. Add green chili and grated ginger and cook for 20 seconds. Make sure not to burn them.
4. Add the chopped white part of green onions and sauté for couple of minutes.
5. Add the vegetable balls and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Reduce the heat to medium, add soy sauce, chili sauce, red chili powder, vinegar, tomato ketchup and brown sugar and mix well. Make sure the vegetable balls are well coated with the sauce. Taste to make sure the spice level is fine. Add more sauce, salt or brown sugar if needed.
7. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook for 2-3minutes.
8. Increase the heat to high and stir fry the veggie balls for 2 minutes.
9. Turn off heat, garnish with chopped green part of green onions and serve hot.
10. If you want to prepare a saucy version, add a tablespoon of corn flour mixed in a table spoon of water and keep aside. After sautéing the onions, add about a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, add the ingredients listed in step 6 and add the corn flour paste. Stir until it thickens to a saucy consistency. Add veggie balls before serving and garnish with the green part of onions.