Cauliflower Manchurian

Cauliflower florets, quoted in a light batter, deep fried and tossed in an Asian inspired sauce.

Cauliflower Manchurian or Gobi Manchurian as it is popularly known as in restaurants, is a favorite at home. The children absolutely love it, partly because it has flavors from their favorite cuisine and partly because it is deep fried! Sweet, spice, tangy and slightly crispy, there is some magic in this recipe that entices their palate.

Gobi means cauliflower in colloquial Hindi. But this recipe is called Gobi Manchurian in every part of the world. You walk into a roadside dhaba or a five star restaurant ,Gobi Manchurian is what it is called and can possibly be a bestseller, if done right!

The restaurant versions uses food coloring and ajinomoto/ MSG, but at home I do not use both. I also try and avoid using all purpose flour for the batter to coat these florets in. I am definitely not calling it a healthy recipe, just consciously made and eaten without the guilt of adding additives just to make it feel like it is tastier. To my great relief, the children have taken to the homestyle version very well…phew!

There are baked and air fryer versions of this recipe on various websites and blogs, but I haven’t tried them yet. This is the long and traditional way of making it. Totally worth your time !

Prep Time : 20 minutesCook Time : 30 minutes
Spice Level : 🌶🌶🌶Ease level : 😃
Serves : 6 Appetizer/Entrée

Notes :

  1. You can use cauliflower, paneer, tofu, baby corn, mushroom, or any other hearty Asian flavor friendly vegetable.
  2. Make it as spicy as you like it.
  3. Can be served as an appetizer or an entrée.
  4. Eat it with a side of fried rice or noodles for a more wholesome meal.
  5. Add more vegetables to the sauce to make it more nutritious and filling.
  6. Use Green chili paste or sauce instead of chili powder/sambal oelek
  7. Use rice vine/white/ apple cider vinegar
  8. Use tomato ketchup or tomato paste, adjust vinegar and sugar levels accordingly.

Ingredients :

For the fritters :

  • Cauliflower florets – 1000 grams/ 2 lbs approximately
  • Salt to taste
  • Ginger – 1 tablespoon – grated/finely chopped/paste
  • Garlic – 1 Tablespoon – grated/finely chopped/paste
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon – for color – optional
  • Paprika / Kashmiri Chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Rice flour – 1/4 cup
  • Corn flour – 1/4 cup
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Oil for deep frying – at least 2 cups

For the sauce :

  1. Sweet onion – 1 medium – chopped into cubes – use any onion of choice
  2. Green Bell Pepper – 2 – medium sized – chopped into cubes
  3. Spring Onion – 3 sprigs – chop green and white – keep aside separately
  4. Ginger Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon each or to taste
  5. White sesame seeds – 1/2 teaspoon – optional
  6. Schezwan chutney – 1.5 tablespoon – or use chili sauce/sambal oelek
  7. Rice wine vinegar – 1 teaspoon
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Molasses – 1.5 tablespoon
  10. Soy Sauce – 2 tablespoon
  11. Tomato paste – 2 tablespoon
  12. Cornstarch – 1 teaspoon
  13. Water – 1/2 cup
  14. Oil

How to :

Part 1 : Fritters :

  • In a wide mixing bowl, add all the ingredients under the For the Fritters list, except the water and toss well to coat the cauliflower florets well. Each floret should be quoted with the mixture. Sprinkle water slowly and gently toss them so that the flour sticks to the florets.
Cauliflower coated in the dry flour mix
Cauliflower florets after sprinkling water
Deep fry them in hot oil in small batches
Drain in a colander or on a paper towel lined plate.
Set them aside until you make the sauce base, try hard not to eat them !!

Part 2 : The Sauce:

  • In wide base skillet or wok, add oil , about 2 tablespoonful and heat it on medium high.
  • Once oil is hot add the sesame seeds, then the onions. Saute for a minute.
  • Next add the ginger garlic paste and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute for a minute.
  • Next add the whites of the scallion and the green bell peppers. Let them cook on medium high heat just for a minute. Key is to keep them crunchy.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the tomato paste, rice wine vinegar, schezwan chutney, soy sauce, molasses, salt to taste, cornstarch and the water. Add that to the skillet and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and then add the fried cauliflower florets to this sauce. Check for salt level. Be mindful that you don’t over salt it.
  • Keep it as thick or as runny as you like it. Garnish with the scallion greens when you serve it.
  • I served it with a simple cabbage fried rice.
Fried Rice

For the Fried rice : Cooked basmati rice, cabbage, salt to taste, black pepper crushed, rice wine vinegar, chopped scallion, ginger garlic paste. Saute all the aromatics in a pan and add to the cooked rice and serve with the cauliflower manchurian.

Totally worth your time and efforts! It tastes so good you will forget all the sweat and time it takes. An indulgence worthy of the calories as well! Make it you own and enjoy! Thank you for stopping by !

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