Easy, Serves 4, Prep time: 30-40 mins.
Manchurian balls are a “Chindian” staple and an absolute must-have during quarantine, but the quality of homemade Manchurian often comes up short, relative to its more delectable restaurant-grade cousin. If you, like me, crave restaurant-style Manchurian balls from time-to-time, look no further!
- Cabbage, medium, 1 no.
- Carrots, medium, 2nos.
- Spring onion greens, 1/2 bunch
- Onion, 1 no.
- Garlic, 12-15 cloves
- Ginger, 1.5 inch piece
- Green chillies, 4 nos.
- Corn starch, 5 tbsp+1 tbsp
- Refined flour, 3 tbsp
- Red chillies, 5 nos.* or Chilly paste, 1 tbsp
- Soya sauce, 2 tsp
- Schezwan sauce, 1 tbsp
- Tomato ketchup, 1 tsp
- Ground black pepper, 1.5 tsp
- Salt, 2 tsp
- Tumeric, 1/2 tsp
- Oil, 1 tbsp+for frying
* We soaked the red chillies for a homemade chilly paste. You can eliminate this step if you already have a store bought paste lying around.
- Begin by peeling the skin of your carrots, onion, ginger and garlic. After doing so, finely shred the cabbage, grate the carrots, thinly slice the spring onion greens, cut the onion into quarters and seperate the individual petals and finely mince your garlic, green chillies and ginger. Pulverize the soaked red chillies with 1-2 tbsp of water into a fine thick paste.
2. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan over a medium flame. Add the shredded cabbage, tumeric powder and 1 tsp of salt. Cover and cook the cabbage until ir reduces in quantity by 1/3rd and is soft.
3. In a large bowl, using a spoon or your fingers (like us) combine the cooked cabbage, shredded carrot, refined flour, corn starch, 1 tsp ground pepper, 1 tsp salt and half of the minced ginger, garlic and green chilly to make your manchurian mix. To test out the texture, try forming balls with your mix (too much flour will make the manchurian balls heavy and doughy whereas too little will cause it to fall apart).
4. In a large frying pan heat oil on a medium flame. In the meanwhile, shape the mix into tiny 1 inch diameter balls and keep aside on a plate. Once the oil is heated, carefully lower 6 balls at a time into the hot oil with a slotted spoon and fry them until deep golden brown on one side for 3-5 minutes before flipping them and cooking them on the other side for 2 minutes. Drain on kitchen absorbent paper and fry the rest of the balls in batches of 6.
5. When dealing with large quantities of ingredients and high temperatures, it helps to set up a “wok” station, like so:
6. Heat the oil in a wok/saute pan on a high heat*. Once sufficiently hot, add your minced garlic, ginger and green chillies and stir fry. Once your garlic starts developing a slight colour, add the onion shells followed by the sauce mixture, remaining ground pepper and salt. Fry the entire sauce for 2 minutes on high heat and deglaze with 2 cups of water.** Let the gravy come to a boil before adding the corn flour slurry (1 tbsp of cornflour + 2 tbsp of water) to it.
* Heat regulation is crucial while cooking in a wok.
**You can adjust the amout of water you add to the sauce depending on how much gravy you desire.
7. Let the gravy boil and become sufficiently thick before tasting and adjusting the seasonings. Add your fried manchurian balls to the hot gravy and let them soak all the goodness for a few minutes before serving with a generous garnish of spring onion greens and a side of our aromatic burnt garlic fried rice.