Dry Manchurian Recipe

Dry Manchurian

Dry Manchurian

Vegetable Manchurian is an addictive Indo-Chinese dish made with fried vegetable dumplings in a sauce laden with chilli, garlic and ginger. Indo-Chinese food has a long history in India, and one of its most popular recipes is doubtlessly the ‘manchurian’ whether chicken, vegetarian or cauliflower.

The fried vegetable dumplings in a glossy, soya sauce with layers of flavour notes of tangy, sweet, spicy and salty is impossible to resist.

The balance of all the sauces is what makes this dish unique. Manchurian can be eaten dry or in gravy depending on if you want to eat it as a starter or main course.

My children love Indo-Chinese food, especially my daughter. They can eat Indo-Chinese any time of the day and if they were to be given an option to choose what they want to eat; it will inevitably be Indo-Chinese. They can eat it for lunch and dinner, and sometimes even in between the meals for snack!

I am sure this dish will surely become one of your family favorites!


For Manchurian Balls
1 cup minced carrot
1 cup minced cabbage
1 cup minced cauliflower
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic clove
1 teaspoon finely chopped green chilli
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
4 tablespoons corn flour
Oil for deep frying

For the Sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped green pepper (capsicum)
1/2 cup finely chopped spring onion
2 finely chopped green chili
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon white pepper powder
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon red chilli sauce
1 teaspoon green chilli sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn flour



Squeeze the minced vegetables to remove all the excess water. Add the garlic, ginger and green chillies in it and mix them all together.

Next add salt, white pepper, soy sauce and corn flour and mix gently.


Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.

To test if the oil is ready for frying gently drop a small piece of a ball to the hot oil. If the ball comes up steadily the oil is ready for frying. If the ball breaks, then add 1 to 2 teaspoons of corn flour to the minced vegetables.

If the oil is ready then make small balls of the vegetables, and gently drop them in the oil. Fry them on medium-low heat. When cooked from one side, turn the balls and fry them until the balls turns golden and crisp. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain the oil as much as possible. Place the fried balls on some kitchen paper towel.


In a wok, heat the sesame oil and add green chillies, ginger and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Next, add onions and peppers and toss them for a minute.


Now, add ¼ cup water, red chilli sauce, soy sauce, green chilli sauce, vinegar, salt and white pepper and give it a boil.

Once it boils add the fried Manchurian balls.


Mix corn flour in 1 tablespoon cold water to make a smooth corn flour slurry.

Add the corn flour slurry and give it a boil. If you feel the gravy is not thick, add more corn flour slurry. Add some spring onions and let the sauce come to a boil.

Serve it hot garnished with spring onions.

Tips & Variations

  1. It is important to squeeze the excess water off the grated vegetables. The water content will make the balls wet and they might burst in oil while frying.
  2. Do not add too much corn flour as this will make the manchurian balls hard.
  3. While making balls, greasing the hands with little oil will ensures that it doesn’t stick on the hands.
  4. The temperature of frying should not be too high or low. If you fry on high heat, they will be cooked from outside but uncooked from inside and if fried on low heat then they will absorb more oil. Always fry the balls on medium-low flame.
  5. While mixing corn flour in water, take care there should be no lumps in it.
  6. Always use cold water to mix in the corn flour.
  7. To adjust the consistency of the sauce you can use corn flour slurry or hot water. If it is too thin add some more corn flour slurry. If it is too thick add some warm water.
  8. I have used sesame oil in this recipe as it adds nutty flavour to this dish. It also enhances the flavour and gives a rich aroma to the dish. You can also use chilli oil or any other vegetable oil.
  9. I have used a Chinese wok to cook the sauce as it helps in quick cooking, however you can use any thin bottom pan.
  10. You can substitute white pepper powder with finely ground black pepper powder.
  11. If you want to make it spicy simply increase the amount of green chilli sauce or the amount of green chilli. Or if you do not like spicy you can reduce the amount of chilli too.
  12. You can change the quantity of the vegetables too. Sometimes I use half cup of carrot, 1 cup of cabbage and ¼ cup of cauliflower. It depends on which vegetable is in season.
  13. If celery is available, you can use ¼ cup of finely chopped celery while frying the onions for the sauce. I have not used it in this recipe as celery wasn’t available in the shops.
  14. If the sauce taste too sharp you can add half a teaspoon of sugar to balance the flavour. Like I said earlier, taste the sauce and balance it according to your taste. I use the exact proportions as given in my recipe and do not have to make any changes.
  15. The manchurian balls should be about 3/4th of an inch in diameter.
    I have in the recipe the proportions of the sauces I use while making manchurian. You might want to tweak them slightly to your taste. If you think a little more depth and saltiness is needed, add some more soya. If you want more tang, add another splosh of the vinegar. Go with your taste buds!

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