Gobi Manchurian

Gobi Manchurian is a classic indo-Chinese recipe, combining the spices of India with the sauces of traditional Chinese food. Gobi Manchurian is essentially small pieces of fried cauliflower coated in a batter and fried crispy. It is then coated with a sweet spicy sticky sauce which combines both Indian and Chinese ingredients. It is usually serves as an appetizer or with fried rice or noodles. Traditionally, it comes either dry(no gravy) or wet(gravy). I prefer making it dry so that the flavor can be much more concentrated and it can easily be served as an appetizer for parties. Coating the crispy cauliflower last minute with the Manchurian sauce before serving helps retain its crunch and prevent the cauliflower from getting soggy.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower head, broken into bite size florets
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup corn starch + 1 tsp
  • 2 tb baking powder
  • 1 ½ tb paprika(or kashmiri chili powder)
  • 3 tb oil + oil for frying
  • 2-3 tb soy sauce
  • 2-3 tb ketchup
  • 2 tb szechuan chili sauce(or chili garlic sauce)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tb grated ginger
  • 2 tb grated garlic
  • 1 thai chili, sliced thinly
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • 1-2 tsp vinegar
  • Chopped cilantro to garnish
  • Sliced green onions to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  • For the fried cauliflower
    • Add oil for frying to a large pot and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
    • In a large bowl combine the flour,  ½ cup of the cornstarch, paprika, baking powder and seasonings
    • Whisk to combine and add enough water to create a thin batter
      • The batter should be looser than a pancake batter but slightly thicker than a crepe better
    • Coat your cauliflower florets in the batter and fry in batches until golden brown and crispy
      • This should take 4-7 minutes
      • Keep the cauliflower moving to prevent sticking
      • Drain in a plate lined with paper
  • For the Manchurian gravy
    • Preheat a wok on high heat
    • When smoking, add the oil followed with the ginger, garlic, chili and onions
    • Keep moving until the veg are golden brown and fragrant
    • Add the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, ketchup, szechuan chili sauce, and sesame oil
    • Continue stirring and deglaze the wok with 1-2 cups of water
    • Mix 1 tsp cornstarch with 2 tbs water and add to the wok to thicken the mixture
    • Just before serving, add the fried cauliflower, season with salt and pepper and serve with cilantro and green onions

Chef’s notes

  • Adding the baking powder and cornstarch are not necessary in making the batter but they will help get the cauliflower crispy. As an alternative, you can mix the flour with unflavored soda for a similar outcome
  • Kashmiri chili is a chili powder from India. Just like paprika, it has a very mild heat and provides a depth of color to many dishes. It is used in many Indian recipes such as butter chicken and tandoori dishes and I love using it as a substitute for red food coloring

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