Veg Manchurian is a popular Indo-Chinese recipe that has a healthy mix of vegetables, deep fried (healthier alternatives in the my Take section) and dunked into a Cantonese sauce. These vegetarian “meatballs” make a perfect accompaniment to white/brown rice making you regret all the times you had take-out when you could have created a great dish like this in your very own kitchen!

Veg Manchurian Gravy, veggie meatballs dunked in a Cantonese sauce, A very popular Indo-Chinese recipe

Most delicacies undergo changes in their journey across International borders; you know to customize it so that it is appealing to the locals and their tastes. While most of these changes remain confined to subtle changes in flavor, heat levels or ingredient substitutions, Veg Manchurian (in my opinion at least) has to be the most ridiculous of these so called changed recipes!

Vegetable Manchurian Gravy recipe

Almost all Indo Chinese recipes can be trace to their Chinese counterparts like the hakka noodles to chowmein, or the sweet corn soup to the egg drop soup and so on and so forth. But Veg Manchurian?!! I tried to dig around the world wide web for any original Chinese recipe called Manchurian but all I found was the “Indo-Chinese” versions and information about a region called Manchuria in China.

Vegan "Meatball" in an Asian sauce, Veg Manchurian

So, what is Veg Manchurian? The look like meatballs but are listed under Chinese cuisine versus the Italian on menus. If it is Italian, why are the vegetarian “meatballs” dunked into a Cantonese sauce which is a characteristic of Chinese cuisine? I don’t think these technicalities bother too many of the One + billion people in India. It is mostly only food bloggers like me who rack their brains about these things because they don’t understand how they should be categorizing such dishes. Then again, even food bloggers stop giving a damn when the recipe turns out so darn delicious and is loved by all the readers.

Veg Manchurian Gravy, veggie meatballs dunked in a Cantonese sauce, A very popular Indo-Chinese recipe

So, Veg Manchurian gravy for my fellow Indians and Vegetarian meatballs in a Cantonese sauce for the rest of the world! Whatever name makes you wish there, was a “Download Food” button on your screen, you call it that!

Veg Manchurian Gravy, veggie meatballs dunked in a Cantonese sauce, A very popular Indo-Chinese recipe

Either way, this veg Manchurian recipe is going to give Ikea a run for their money! Swedish meatballs; make way for these lush vegetable meatballs. Here is the recipe for:

Veg Manchurian Gravy


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 3



    For the Veggie Balls
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 2 cups grated cabbage
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • Salt to season (use with restraint or the vegetables will become watery)
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp rice flour (You can use corn flour too but rice flour makes them extra crispy)
  • Oil for deep frying
  • For the Cantonese sauce
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped green chilies (optional, can be substituted with ½ tsp black pepper powder)
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Upto 1 & 1/2 cup vegetable stock (or water)
  • Salt to season
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp of corn starch dissolved in upto 2 tbsp water to make slurry
  • For garnish
  • Chopped green onions
  • Some sesame seeds


  1. Mix all the ingredients listed under the meatballs except for the flours.
  2. Set aside for about 5-7 minutes
  3. Meanwhile heat oil for deep frying. Mix in the flours into the vegetable mixture well to make cohesive ball. If required add more flour for binding.
  4. Make ping-pong sized balls of the veg mixture and drop them slowly into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry in batches.
  5. Fry the veggie balls on medium high heat. This will ensure that the Manchurian balls are cooked through all the way inside.
  6. Once the balls turn a golden brown, drain them out onto some paper towels.
  7. In another deep pan, heat the oil meant for the sauce.
  8. Once hot, add in the chopped garlic, ginger and green chilies.
  9. Sauté for about 30 seconds before you can add in the salt, sugar and soy sauce.
  10. Add in the vegetable stock (or water).
  11. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a medium high.
  12. Add the corn starch slurry in a steady stream into the simmering liquid while stirring continuously.
  13. Add the corn starch in small quantities. As the sauce boils, it thickens further.
  14. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  15. Pour the sauce onto a serving plate. Now, dunk the veggie meatballs into the sauce.
  16. Garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

My Take:

For a healthier alternative, you can try baking the “meatballs” or better, cooking them in an aebleskiver pan (Appe pan).

For those who desire higher levels of heat, add a tbsp. of chili sauce or sriracha along with the soy sauce.

Yummily Yours'


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  1. Nice.. But meatballs?

  2. I do have the veggies in my refrigerator that got delivered today from The Organic Garden and I am glad I came across your post since this is exactly what I am going to make tomorrow. Thank you so much

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