Making friends with someone who cooks these vegetable balls has been a challenge since it’s more of a Northern China dish and I live in Southern China. I had found several recipes but – wow – the long list of ingredients and 150 steps in the procedure turned me off completely! Finally I watched the lady in my local wet market while she was making them to sell, and I got a good idea of what was involved, having eaten them so very often back in Beijing and Qingdao.
So here you have it, my take on Chinese Vegetable Balls… This recipe is included in my Chinese Cookbook “The Secrets of Chinese Comfort Food – Everyday Chinese Cooking“, soon to be published.
Manchurian Vegetable Balls
Makes 20 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls
1 carrot, grated (makes about 1 cup)
1 zucchini, grated (makes about 1 cup)
½ small cooking onion, grated (makes about ½ cup)
½ cup each of chopped cilantro, chopped fresh mint, and chopped green onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons Chinese chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
several dashes of chilli powder (add as much or as little for desired spiciness)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
oil for deep frying
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. More flour may be required if it’s too watery and to make the mixture stick together.
Heat oil for deep-frying on medium high heat in a wok. When oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium.
Lightly wet hands and form mixture into small balls. Add balls in groups of 5 or 6 to the oil and deep by turning balls frequently. Balls are cooked when they are lightly browned outside and firm in texture inside.
Serve with sweet chilli, soy, or plum sauce for dipping.
Eat and enjoy!
I had two zucchinis and wondered what to do with them. I used my Sweet Potato Fritters Chinese Style and substituted zucchini for sweet potatoes. It turned into Zucchini Fritters Chinese Style…
Makes 12 three-inch diameter pancakes
2 cups grated zucchini, skin on
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoons minced ginger
2 eggs, well beaten
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
oil for frying (approximately 1/2 cup)
Mix all ingredients very well.
Heat the wok, add the oil, and wait for it to heat. Drop the mixture 2 tablespoons at a time into the hot oil.
When crispy, turn to fry on other side, adding more oil as required. Remove from oil.
Serve pancakes with plum sauce or sweet chilli sauce.