How to make a healthy veg manchurian – No fry recipe
I have written about Indo-Chinese food earlier on, in this space. One episode of Vir Sanghvi’s A Matter of Taste was dedicated to this cuisine [he calls it Sino-Ludhianavi cuisine], its origins in India and its evolution. While the taste is absolutely lip smacking and addictive, it can be very high in fat content. The ingredients are fried on a high heat and to keep them from burning, large quantities of oil are used, which is why you see the rich gloss on the noodles and rice served.
One of my early favourites during my introduction to Indo-Chinese food was the vegetable manchurian. The manchurian balls are made using finely minced vegetables, coated with corn flour mixed with spices and deep fried till golden brown. These crispy balls can then either be coated with a mix of sauted ginger – garlic bits to make a dry cocktail snack. These balls can be floated in a spicy tangy sauce to serve as a main course dish with rice or noodles. Bits of minced meat, fish or chicken can be used as a base to make the balls to suit the meat-lover’s palate.
I’m alright with eating the fried manchurian in places like Dynasty (my favourite Indo-Chinese eating joint near my place), but since I hate deep frying at home, plus because I think deep frying is the most non-creative way of cooking – i decided to try the steaming method.
In the deep fried method, the main veggies used are cabbage and carrots, which are relatively dry compared to gourds, which is why I used a portion of watery gourd to give the volume and lightness while steaming, going by the logic that using very dry vegetables in the balls would lead to tough bouncy balls after steaming.
My logic did work this time and post steaming the manchurian turned out light and well cooked inside, and they increased in size by 50% – without any addition of baking soda or powder whatsoever.
After soaking them in the sauce, they became even more succulent and flavourful on absorbing all the flavours from the sauce.
So when in mood for healthy Indo-Chinese, I would surely go for this dish with a plate of plain noodles or lightly spiced rice and greens.
You can even wilt a bunch of your favourite greens to make a heartier sauce. This can be thinned out to a soup like consistency too – a dumpling soup kinda.