Indo-Chinese cuisine is a popular choice in our household when we want something a bit different from the ordinary! Characterized by spicy curries infused with lots of black pepper, garlic, ginger, spring onions and soy sauce, there are a breadth of different recipes that are all equally delicious. This Gobi Manchurian recipe is equal amounts flavoursome and easy to make.
The Indo-Chinese cuisine was first started by Chinese immigrants that settled in West-Bengal centuries ago. They adapted traditional Chinese recipes to Indian tastes, while retaining the cooking methods and distinctive spices. Although through evolution and adaption the cuisine bares little resemblance to the original traditional Chinese dishes, it’s widely popular all across India – actually it’s been declared the most popular choice for Indians when eating out at restaurants!
‘Gobi’ means Cauliflower in Hindi (one of the most widely spoken Indian languages), and Manchurian is a reference to an area of China which is known for its heavy use of soy sauce.
Crispy, spicy and peppery battered cauliflower is coated with a sweet, spicy and sour sauce packed full of garlic and garlic, and then topped with the fresh crunch of spring onions. The cauliflower is both in equal amounts crispy from the batter and tender from the inside, with the sticky sauce coating it perfectly for flavour in every bite.
Indo-Chinese is the perfect combination of both foods for when you just can’t make your mind up.
Gobi Manchurian - Indo-Chinese Battered Cauliflower Curry
A vegan & vegetarian recipe of spicy battered cauliflower in a sticky sweet, sour and spicy sauce full of ginger and garlic.
For the Batter:
- 200g Cauliflower, washed and cut into pieces
- 4 tbsp Plain Flour
- 2 tbsp Cornflour
- 4 tbsp Water
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- Sunflower Oil (for deep-frying the cauliflower)
For the Cornflour Mix:
- 1 tbsp Cornflour
- 1 tbsp Water
For the Curry:
- 2 tbsp Sunflower Oil
- 1 tbsp Fresh Ginger, diced or grated
- 2 tbsp Fresh Garlic, diced or grated – About 4 large cloves
- 2 Thin Green Chillis, diced
- 2 1/2 Spring Onions/Green Onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
- 1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Rice Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Chilli Sauce (I use Maggi Masala Chilli Sauce)
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper Powder
- 1/2 tsp White Sugar or sweetener of choice
- 350 ml Water
1. To begin, add plain flour, cornflour, salt, black pepper powder and red chilli powder to a small bowl. Slowly add the water, whisking to incorporate until you have a smooth batter. Set aside.
2. To make the cornflour slurry, add cornflour to a small bowl and whisk with the water until smooth, and then set aside until needed.
3. To fry the cauliflower, heat sunflower oil in a deep kadai or deep fat fryer over medium to high heat. Be sure to exercise caution and be safe around hot oil as it can cause serious injuries. Once the oil is hot, carefully dip a cauliflower floret into the batter and coat entirely, then carefully lower the battered cauliflower into the oil. Repeat with all the cauliflower. Don’t overcrowd the pan – you may have to fry in two batches. Carefully rotate with a slotted spoon and cook until golden red, just turning brown, then remove from the oil with the spoon and drain on tissue.
4. To start making the curry, heat oil in a medium sized wok or kadai over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the chopped green chilli, ginger, and garlic. Stir fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until aromatic but not brown. Next, add the chopped spring onion and stir fry for 20 seconds. Add the sauces – ketchup, soy sauce, hot chilli sauce and vinegar, mix, and turn the heat to low. Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the sauce is bubbling and reducing from the edges of the pan.
5. At this stage add the cornflour slurry to the curry and immediately start to mix. Immediately begin to introduce the rest of the water, stirring continuously as you go. Once the curry has thickened and achieved a slight shine, it’s ready.
6. Add the battered cauliflower you set aside to the curry along with the black pepper and sugar, and cook for 2 minutes to thoroughly heat through. Once done, turn off the heat and serve immediately garnished with spring onion greens and sesame seeds.
Tip: You can blanch your cauliflower if you’re concerned about bugs. For me, thorough washing with hot water is enough. If you want to blanch your cauliflower, heat water in a medium sized, deep saucepan until it reaches boiling point. Drop the cauliflower into the water and cook for 1 minute before turning off the heat, draining the cauliflower, and rinsing with cold water. The aim isn’t to cook the cauliflower, just to cleanse it of impurities. All the cooking needed will happen when frying.
How to serve Gobi Manchurian?
The dry version of Gobi Manchurian can be served as a starter to a larger meal. To make this version, simply omit the cornflour slurry and water entirely from the recipe. Just stir fry the battered cauliflower quickly in the sauces, toss to coat, and serve. This option is equally as delicious, but not quite as filling as the gravy version.
Our favourite way to serve Gobi Manchurian is either with Vegetable or Egg Fried Rice, or with Indo-Chinese style Vegetable Chow Mein Noodles. You could even serve it as part of a feast with both of the above and either Spring Rolls or Momos as a starter.
The dish is naturally vegan & vegetarian.