Veg Manchurian is a popular Indianized Chinese dish, in which vegetable meatballs are simmered in an asian flavored sweet, spicy and tangy sauce. Here's an Instant Pot recipe that gets ready in 30-minute!
Easy 30-Minute Dinner
Traditionally, it is a time-consuming dish where I make the vegetable meatballs from scratch, deep-fry them, and then simmer them in sauce on low-heat.
In my 30-minute hack for this recipe, I use store-bought soy-based meatless meatballs and pressure cook them in a flavored broth, in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot. After pressure cooking, I thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry.
I serve it over fried rice, or, brown Jasmine rice and just like that a delicious dinner comes together in under 30 minutes.
What is Indo-Chinese Food?
Indo-Chinese cuisine was extremely popular, when I was growing up in India. It is a street-food style adaptation of popular Chinese dishes, catered to the Indian palette.
Some of my favorite Indo-Chinese dishes include Chicken Sweet Corn Soup, Chicken Manchurian, Hakka Noodles, American chopsuey, which is very different from the American chopsuey you get here, and then there is the super popular Vegetable Manchurian.
Original Vegetable Manchurian Recipe
If I am making Vegetable Manchurian from scratch, I start by finely chopping assorted vegetables like carrots, cabbage, bell pepper, onions, ginger, garlic and spring onions.
Then, I add seasoning and bind these chopped vegetables with flour, cornstarch and water, and shaped into round balls, about half the size of a golf-ball.
I deep fry these veggie balls and keep aside. Simultaneously, I prepare a quick sauce or glaze by sautéing aromatics like fresh ginger, garlic, onions and red chilies. I add water, soy sauce, vinegar, chili garlic sauce and thicken it with a cornstarch slurry. I add the manchurian balls and simmer them in the sauce for about 30 seconds to a minute.
Dry Vegetable Manchurian
This dish is pretty versatile as it can served as an appetizer as well as a main course. If you are serving this as an appetizer, simply reduce the quantity of water to one cup in this recipe, and follow the rest of the instructions.
That will result in just enough sauce to coat the Manchurian. To serve them as an
Stovetop Veg Manchurian Recipe
It is very easy to adapt this recipe for the stove-top.
Heat a wok, or a deep skillet on medium-high heat. Saute onions, ginger and garlic. Add water, tamari, vinegar, sambal, agave, ketchup and seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Check for seasoning, add the store-bought vegetable meatballs and cook for a few minutes, till they become tender and absorb some of the flavored broth.
To thicken the Manchurian gravy, make a cornstarch slurry and add while stirring. Add till you reach the desired consistency. Garnish with sliced spring onions and serve with White or Brown Jasmine Rice and enjoy!
Instant Pot Chicken Manchurian Recipe
Using this recipe, you can make Chicken Manchurian in your Instant Pot too. Simply replace the meatless meatballs with chicken or turkey meatballs and follow the instructions. That simple!
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Veg Manchurian Recipe: Instant Pot & Stovetop Recipe
- 1 lb. Meatless Meatballs (or any veggie meatballs, I get mine from Trader Joe's)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon spring onions thinly sliced
- 1.75 cups water (or broth)
- 2 tablespoon Tamari (dark soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sambal olek (chili garlic sauce)
- 2 tablespoon ketchup
- 2 tso agave or honey (use agave for Vegan)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2-3 tablespoon tap cold water
- Turn on Saute mode on high. When the display reads, 'hot, add oil and chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Saute for 1 minute.
- Add water, all sauces and seasoning listed under "sauce". Stir and add the frozen veggie meatballs. Cancel Saute. Close lid. Press Manual or Pressure Cook at 3 mins.
- When 3 minutes is up, manually release the pressure by turning the vent to 'venting' position in DUO, or, Press down the pressure release button in ULTRA. When the pin drops, open the lid.
After Pressure Cooking
- Turn on Saute. Stir together the cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch with water. Mix till you get a smooth milk-like consistency. Add a little as a time, while stirring. Stop when the sauce thickens to your desired level.
- Garnish with sliced spring onions and serve warm
- If you have regular soy sauce instead of Tamari, check for seasoning after adding the soy sauce, and add an extra pinch of salt or 1 teaspoon of soy sauce.
- If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Just eaten with basmati rice and lamb's lettuce, and on the side of the plate cucumber pieces as a refreshing touch.
I used arrowroot instead of cornstarch and coconutsugar instead of agave/honey, further according to recipe.
We loved it, only the girls thought it was a bit too spicy for them (1 tbsp sambal oelek 🤭😅) and therefore gave 4 instead of 5 stars.
But I give it 5 stars and I'm the boss 😂 so the grand total will be 5 stars.
Thank you Aneesha! 😘
Love from The Netherlands
Hi Savitri, thanks for your feedback, I'm glad you enjoyed it (and special thanks for the extra star :). I'll add a note about spice level in the post. Thanks!
Correction: I had used coconut syrup instead of coconut sugar.
Chris Hurt says
Hi Chris, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! More Indo-Chinese recipes coming soon 🙂
What can be used as replacement for rice vinegar? What other type of vinegar can be used?
Hi Swetha, you can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar instead. Would love to hear how that works!