CAULIFLOWER MANCHURIAN (GOBI MANCHURIAN)

A popular Indo-Chinese recipe of crispy cauliflower florets dunked in a saucy gravy.

Cauliflower Manchurian is a beautiful recipe of crispy fried cauliflower florets simmered in a sweet and tangy Manchurian sauce. It is perhaps the most popular vegetarian dish in Indo-Chinese Cuisine.  It is believed to have been originally developed by a small Chinese community that lived in Kolkata (a city in Eastern India) since the British Raj.

WHAT IS INDO-CHINESE CUISINE?

India is a cosmopolitan country not just in the sense of the word but in everything, right from the people, the cultures, the languages, and most importantly the food. Different communities have lived here and left a part of their tradition which has been Indianized over time. One such community that has been living in India since the British Raj is the Chinese community. The beautiful amalgam of Chinese cuisine and Indian flavors has given birth to one of the most distinct cuisine, now known as the Indo-Chinese cuisine. Today, the Indo-Chinese cuisine is an integral part of every Indian kitchen. Let me tell you that this cuisine is far from authentic Chinese cuisine. However, it is the only kind of Chinese food we have known growing up in India. We love our take on Chinese cuisine and trust you will love it too.

WHAT IS GOBI MANCHURIAN?

The Hindi word Gobi means Cauliflower and the word Manchurian means inhabitants of Manchuria, a historical region of northeastern China. The word was coined by the Chinese community who have lived in Kolkata since the time of the British Raj.

Cauliflower Manchurian is probably the most popular vegetarian Indo-Chinese dish. This dish is served both as an appetizer and entree. The appetizer version is dry while when served as an entree the dish has a significant amount of gravy. As an entree, it is served alongside Chinese or Szechuan fried rice, jasmine rice, or Hakka noodles.

WHAT IS A MANCHURIAN SAUCE MADE OF?

The Manchurian sauce is a popular sauce in Indo-Chinese cuisine. It is a brown sauce, prepared with light and dark soy sauce, vinegar, tomato ketchup, sugar, and salt. It is sweet and tangy in taste and has a thick consistency.

ABOUT THE RECIPE

The Gobi Manchurian is an Indo-Chinese entree that doubles up as an appetizer. It has a 2-step cooking method where the cauliflower florets are first coated in a batter and deep-fried until crisp and golden. The fried florets are then cooked in a sweet and tangy Manchurian sauce.

This recipe is neither too dry nor does it have a lot of gravy. If you wish to make it drier, just increase the heat and toss the florets in the sauce a little longer. If you want more gravy, dissolve 4 tablespoons of cornflour in a cup of water and add to the sauce before adding in the florets.

INGREDIENTS

Here is what you will need to make Gobi Manchurian:

Cauliflower - Cut into small florets and blanched.

For the batter - All-purpose flour, cornflour, salt, and pepper.

For the Manchurian sauce - Dark soy sauce, vinegar, tomato ketchup, sugar, and salt.

For the gravy - Diced red onion, bell pepper, minced garlic and ginger, and chopped green chilies (optional).

Oil for frying the florets and cooking.

Chopped green onion for garnishing.

HOW TO MAKE GOBI MANCHURIAN?

To begin, the first task is to blanch the cauliflower florets.

Then prepare the batter mix all-purpose flour, cornflour, salt, and pepper with the appropriate quantity of water making sure that the batter is not too runny. You want the batter to be thick enough to coat the cauliflower florets without dripping.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and deep fry the florets after dipping them in the batter. Keep aside the fried florets.

In a small bowl, whisk together dark soy sauce, vinegar, tomato ketchup, sugar, and salt for the Manchurian sauce.

In a skillet, fry the minced garlic and then add the onion, followed by the green chilies (if using), and bell pepper. Make sure not to overcook, you want the peppers to be crunchy on the bite. Add the Manchurian sauce and allow the gravy to simmer.

Add the fried florets and toss in the gravy.

Garnish with chopped green onion.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why should I blanch cauliflower?

Blanching serves multiple purposes. For one, blanching helps get rid of the hidden crawlies in the cauliflower florets. Secondly, it gives a beautiful texture to the florets making them tender but not too limp. Finally, it facilitates faster and uniform cooking.

How can I blanch cauliflower?

To blanch the cauliflower, first cut into florets. Boil around 6-8 cups of water in a saucepan. When the water comes to a rolling boil, put the cauliflower florets in it. Turn off the flame, put the lid, and let it rest for 3 mins. Strain the florets and run them under cold water to arrest the cooking. Let them air-dry. Your blanched cauliflower is ready!

Why are my cauliflower florets soggy?

To avoid your fried florets from getting soggy, make sure that the florets are completely dry before you dip them in the batter and fry. The second thing to keep in mind is to fry the florets on medium heat. If the heat is too high, the florets will be browned on the outside and remain uncooked and soggy inside.

If you think your florets are not crispy enough, try adding some more cornflour in the batter. You could also add about a tablespoon of rice flour in the batter.

Is Gobi Manchurian vegan and gluten-free?

This recipe is completely vegan.

I have used ordinary all-purpose flour and cornflour in the batter, to make this recipe gluten-free use just the cornflour.

Also, be mindful that some varieties of soy sauce are not gluten-free. If you want it gluten-free check the labels before buying.

Can I bake the cauliflower florets instead of deep-frying?

Yes, you can bake the florets instead of deep frying but I will be honest, I like the deep-fried version better.

To bake the florets, preheat oven to 400F. Coat the florets in the batter as usual and arrange them in a single layer on a well greased baking tray.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping once in between until they are golden-brown.

Then proceed to cook as usual.

Can I air-fry he cauliflower florets instead of deep-frying?

For airfrying the cauliflower florets, coat them in the batter as usual and arrange them in a single layer on a well greased air fryer tray.

Set the timer for 8-10 minutes at 400F.

Then proceed to cook as usual.

Can I make this ahead of time?

The crispiness of the cualiflower florets are lost if you wait too long before serving. So, if you are planning to serve this to your guests, here is what you can do.

Fry the florets and keep aside. Prepare the sauce with the onions and pepper ahead of time. Just before you are ready to serve, once again fry the florets and then toss them in the sauce. That way the crispy texture will be preserved.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

Serve Gobi Manchurian as a starter with ketchup and salad. For the gravy version, serve it alongside plain jasmine or basmati rice, fried rice, or noodles.

You can also serve it with roti or naan. You can also wrap it in a roti, tortilla or pita with some fresh greens and a dipping sauce.

STORAGE SUGGESTIONS

You may freeze the fried florets in a airtight container for upto 3 weeks. When you are ready to eat, thaw the florets and crisp them in the oven at 400F for about 6-8 minutes and then toss them in the sauce as usual.

GOBI MANCHURIAN
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GOBI MANCHURIAN

Yield: 6
Author: The GradChef
Prep time: 10 MCook time: 25 MTotal time: 35 M
A popular Indo-Chinese recipe of crispy cauliflower florets dunked in a saucy gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower cut into small florets
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2-3 green chili chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • sugar to taste
  • water as needed
  • canola oil for cooking

Instructions:

  1. Blanch the cauliflower florets and dust them with some flour so that they have no moisture on them.
  2. Heat enough oil in a deep-bottomed vessel for deep frying.
  3. In a large bowl combine the all-purpose flour, cornflour, pepper, and salt with water to form a thick batter.
  4. Dip the florets in the batter so that they are coated well and deep fry until golden. Drain on a kitchen towel to soak the excess oil.
  5. In a small bowl prepare the sauce by whisking together vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and salt.
  6. In a pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil. Add the minced garlic, ginger, chopped chilies, chopped white portions of the green onions, and fry until fragrant.
  7. Add the onion and bell pepper and keep frying.
  8. Add the sauce and add some slurry (well-dissolved mix of cornflour and water) at this stage if you want gravy.
  9. When the gravy starts boiling add the fried florets and toss lightly so that they are well coated with the sauce.
  10. Garnish with chopped green onion.

Notes:

  • Skip adding the slurry if you want to serve as an appetizer.
  • Add chili sauce or a little chili oil for extra heat.
  • If you think your gravy is watery, prepare a slurry by dissolving 1 tbsp cornflour in 4 tbsp water. Add the slurry to your gravy to instantly thicken it.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
indo-chinese cauliflower manchurian vegetarian gluten-free vegan
entree, appetizer
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