I was first introduced to Gobi Manchurian way back when I was studying in college, in Bangalore. There were dozens of hawker stalls around our campus dishing out mouth-watering, finger-licking good Chinese food – made especially for the Indian palate of course! The menu ranged from various types of Noodles, Fried Rice, Stir-fried Veggies, Paneer and Meat. My favourites to order was always the Chilli Chicken, Gobi Manchurian and Hakka Chowmein.
The first time I walked into a Chinese restaurant here in Canada, I was surprised to find none of those on the menu. It was only until much later, that I realized that the Chinese food we all love and relish in India, didn’t actually come from the kitchens of real Chinese cooks! Instead, it began as an Indo-fusion creation that has now been perfected by hawkers on the streets of any major city in India!
While most Hakka joints here in the GTA cater to our Indo-Chinese loving palates by dishing out all the usual favourites, somehow, Gobi Manchurian seems to be the ONE thing missing from most of their vast menus. Of the handful of places that I’ve found them served at, it’s always been a hit-or-miss to get the right flavour and texture.
This Gobi Manchurian recipe is a wonderful blend of easy Chinese-style cooking with a dash of Indian spices thrown in!
I love fusion cooking! I enjoy mixing and matching non-traditional methods and ingredients and creating something different. Which is why, one fine Sunday morning, armed with a fresh head of cauliflower, larger than the size of my own, I decided to give this a go!
The ONE piece of advice I would give you before you decide to jump into this, is to not skip the Tomato-Chilli sauce. I’ve tried a few different brands and come to the conclusion that Maggi Hot & Sweet gives the exact flavour I’ve been hunting for. So put on your apron and dish this up. It’s as close to the real thing as it may get!
Gobi Manchurian (Cauliflower Manchurian)
- 1 medium-sized cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets
- light cooking oil for deep frying
- 2 tbsp light cooking oil
- 2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp white pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 cup tomato-chili sauce
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- salt to taste
- finely chopped spring onions for garnish
For the Batter:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
- water as needed
- Combine together all-purpose flour, corn starch, red chili powder, garlic powder, salt and a little bit of water to form a batter thick enough to coat each cauliflower floret.
- Heat the oil in a pan and deep fry the cauliflower florets coated with batter, till golden brown and crisp. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick pan. Add in garlic and ginger, and fry for a few seconds till fragrant. Add in the onions and fry for a few minutes till lightly browned.
- Stir in white pepper, coriander powder, tomato-chilli sauce and soy sauce, and let it come to a simmer to form a thick saucy consistency. Season with salt if needed.
- Toss in the fried cauliflower florets, and mix with the sauce to coat well.
- Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve immediately.
This post was originally published in March 2006 and has been recently updated.
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