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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vegetable Manchurian - Baked, Healthy and Delicious

After the success of gobi manchurian, I decided to tackle another fried manchurian dish, the vegetable manchurian. Now this is a labor intensive dish, especially when you fry all the vegetable manchurian balls. But baking it takes most of the hard work out of it. You can use a fine grater setting in your food processor to process the various vegetables but if it is not fine enough, I would recommend grating it manually with a grater. This will help to bring the components together in so a dough like consistency needed to keep the dumpling in one piece. Now, the disclaimer!! If you really enjoy the crispy taste of the manchurian balls/dumplings, you should stick to the frying method.  However if you like the texture and taste when the manchurian balls are well marinated in the sauce, then this is definitely a recipe you will want to try. I was hesitant to bake it initially since I wasn't sure if the dumplings would cook through completely, but it was definitely a successful experiment.

For the manchurian balls
1 cup cabbage finely grated
1/2 cup carrots finely grated
1/2 cup yellow onion very finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic ginger paste
4-5 tbsp all purpose flour/ maida
2-3 tbsp corn flour
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 tbsp oil

For the sauce

2 tbsp oil
1/4 cup onion - diced
2-3 garlic cloves - finely chopped
1/8 tsp ginger - finely grated
green chillies - finely chopped, to taste
1 cup of green onion leaves - chopped
3-4 tbsp soy sauce
salt to taste
2 cups water
1-2 tbsp corn starch
salt to taste

Mix together the cabbage, carrots, chillies and onion. Add the oil, salt and pepper. Add the maida and cornflour. Mix it all together to a dough like consistency. If the mixture is watery add more cornflour. Make small balls about 1-1.5 inches in diameter. Place all the manchurian balls on a baking sheet. Grease the baking sheet with some oil so that they do not stick to the sheet. Bake the manchurian balls at 450 F for about 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake on the other side for another 10 minutes. The manchurian balls will be well browned at this point.

In another pan, heat some oil. Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the chillies, ginger and garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Make a slurry of water and cornflour. Add this to the pan and let it cook till the mixture starts thickening a little. To this add the soy sauce, salt and the manchurian balls. Let the manchurian balls cook in the sauce for a few minutes, so that they are cooked till the center and they absorb the sauce. This will also ensure that they are completely cooked to the center in case they are not completely done during the baking process. Then add the green onions and cook for a couple of minutes.
Serve hot with fried rice or chowmein.

As soon as  you add the salt, the manchurian vegetables will release a lot of liquid. It is important that you mix all the ingredients quickly and fry the manchurian balls or bake them immediately. If you line the baking sheet it with a parchment paper or aluminium foil, spray some oil on the foil or paper so that the manchurian balls don't stick. If the sauce doesn't thicken sufficiently, add a little bit of more cornflour. To avoid creating lumps, dissolve the cornflour in a little water and then pour this slurry into a larger amount of liquid. Stir thoroughly and this will help avoid lumps.


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