As my rampage of cultural misappropriation, and down right food mugging continues, I am looking for dishes that are quick to create, tasty, and diet compliant.
Seems like a trip down memory lane today, back to my life in Long Island City and my favorite Indian restaurant. How good was it? My roommates, who were extremely taste and quality-critical, made it a once-a-week excursion.
These days those excursions are just not in the cards, but I can produce this for the SheWolf.
I’ll use my air fryer to resolve the “health” issues of deep frying.
A side note on air fryers is great but most totally annoys me with the small capacity. The lack of capacity leads to crowding of the basket and a lack of crispness. Some of the latter (as in the unit I purchased) are combination toaster ovens and air fryers with a large rectangular basket allowing food to be spread out, cook and crisp properly.
In this specific case, I am looking for crisp vegetable balls/fritters/patties that are the perfect flavor carriers for either a dipping sauce, curry gravy, or chili-based sauce. Let’s mug the Manchurians for a decent gravy recipe, and we’ll toss my balls in a spicy gravy.
Manchurian is a class of Indian Chinese dishes made by roughly chopping and deep-frying a main ingredient like chicken, cauliflower (gobi), prawns, fish, mutton or paneer cheese and then sautéeing it in a sauce flavored with soy sauce. Manchurian is the result of the adaptation of Chinese cooking and seasoning techniques to suit Indian tastes and has become a staple of Indian Chinese cuisine.
There are two different variants of Manchurian, dry and with gravy. Both variants are prepared by using common ingredients like corn flour, maida flour, spring onion, bell peppers, soy sauce, chili sauce, minced garlic, ground pepper, etc. and has typical garnish of spring onion. Some recipes call for use of monosodium glutamate (MSG) to increase the taste profile, though there are those who avoid it due to health concerns. Its taste can vary from mildly spicy to hot and fiery based on the recipe and personal preference.
Dry or crispy Manchurian
The fritters are served comparatively dry, often as a snack or starter with tomato ketchup as dipping sauce. It is popular among alcohol drinkers as a bar snack, and has been described as an “excellent drinking companion to cold beer”.
Manchurian with gravy
The fritters are coated with a thick sauce like spicy gravy curry made of corn flour. It is generally served with varieties of rice dishes like steamed rice, Chinese fried rice, Szechuan fried rice, as the main course.
For the gravy, we will use the Manchurian gravy from my post; Gobi Manchurian.
For the balls, we will use the recipe below; I’ll note that shaping is optional, one might form standard balls or one might flatten said balls into thick patties, In the end, what you do with your balls is your business.
Indo-Chinese Veggie Balls
- Air Fryer
- 1 cup Cabbage Shredded finely
- 1 cup Carrot Grated finely
- 1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper Minced finely
- 1/4 cup Green Beans Fresh, Shredded finely
- 1 tsp Grated Ginger
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 1/4 Cup AP Flour
- 1/4 Cup Corn Starch
- Salt To taste
- Mix flour and corn starch well in a small container
- Mix veggies well in a large bowl
- Add flour mixture in small increments to mixed veggies, and work to create a firm dough
- Form balls of the dough mixture, approx 2 tbsp in size, rest on a wire rack
- Preheat the air fryer to 375, mist the rack with cooking oil
- Place the dough balls on the rack, DO NOT OVER CROWD, mist the balls with cooking oil
- Air fry for 10 minutes and flip cooking for another 10 minutes
- We are looking for a golden brown, crisp exterior, with an internal temp of ~ 140
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