Indulge in the delightful flavors of Gobi Manchurian, an Indo-Chinese dish featuring crispy fried cauliflower coated in a tantalizing blend of spicy and tangy Manchurian sauce.
This versatile dish can be served as an appetizer or as a main course with noodles or fried rice, making it the perfect addition to your lunch or dinner menu. Plus, with detailed instructions and useful tips in this recipe, everyone can make this restaurant-quality dish in no time.
What is cauliflower Manchurian?
Gobi Manchurian, also known as cauliflower Manchurian, is a popular Indo-Chinese dish that consists of crispy-fried cauliflower florets tossed in a spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet sauce. This beloved street food is a staple on restaurant menus across India as well as Indian restaurants around the world.
Not only is Gobi Manchurian naturally vegan, but it can also be made gluten-free with a few simple substitutions. Whether you're hosting a party, gathering, or game day, this flavorful cauliflower appetizer is sure to be a hit. Serve this delicious dish as an appetizer, or pair it with Hakka noodles or vegetable fried rice for a complete and satisfying meal.
While making Gobi Manchurian involves two main steps - batter-frying the cauliflower and making the Manchurian sauce - don't worry! I'll be sharing all of my tips and tricks, along with step-by-step instructions, to help you make the BEST Gobi Manchurian. Also, check out this recipe to make veg Manchurian at home.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Semi-gravy: Unlike the classic Gobi Manchurian, which tends to have a dry and crispy texture, this semi-gravy version provides a saucier consistency that's perfect for drizzling over rice or noodles.
- Crispy and tender cauliflower: The cauliflower is coated in a batter that results in a crispy, crunchy texture on the outside while remaining tender on the inside.
- Flavorful and tangy sauce: The sauce has a balance of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors, with key ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, ginger, and garlic.
- Easy to prepare: While there are multiple steps involved in making this dish, it is easy to make. I have included detailed step-wise instructions and tips in this recipe to ensure that you can make this dish with confidence.
- Restaurant quality, yet free from the nasties: Enjoy the delicious taste and texture of restaurant-quality Indo-Chinese cuisine in the comfort of your own home, without the added MSG or other unwanted ingredients that can come with Indo-Chinese food.
Cauliflower: Use fresh cauliflower with a tight and firm head to make this dish.
All-purpose flour and cornstarch: They are used to make the batter to coat the cauliflower florets
Vegetable stock: Use vegetable stock instead of water to make the Manchurian sauce/gravy.
Sauces: Dark soy sauce, vinegar, and red chili paste are used in this dish.
Ginger and garlic: They are used in two forms - chopped ginger garlic for the Manchurian sauce and ginger garlic paste for the batter.
Vegetables: Finely chopped onion, carrots, and bell peppers are used in the Manchurian sauce/gravy.
Measurements and variations
I have used a medium-sized cauliflower here, which gave me approximately 3.5 cups of florets. The measurements for the batter and Manchurian sauce work perfectly well with this amount of cauliflower.
There are two ways to make it - dry version and with gravy or sauce. The dry version is served as an appetizer, and the gravy version is served as a side dish. This recipe is semi-dry and has some amount of Manchurian sauce. So it can be served as both an appetizer and as a part of the main meal and is perfect for drizzling over rice or noodles.
The semi-gravy sauce is made with a blend of sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors that complement the crispy cauliflower perfectly. If you want to make dry Gobi Manchurian, use one cup of vegetable stock and let it simmer until it reaches the desired consistency.
Step 1: Combine all the ingredients to make the batter in a mixing bowl - flour, corn starch, red chili paste, ginger garlic paste, white pepper, and salt (images 1 and 2). Slowly add water and make a smooth and lump-free batter (images 3 and 4).
Step 2: Boil cauliflower in salted water. Drain the water and let it cool completely (images 5 and 6).
Step 3: Dip the blanched cauliflower in the thick batter and deep fry them in hot oil until they are crispy and golden brown (images 7 and 8). Drain them on a paper towel and set them aside.
Step 4: Heat oil in a large wok/kadhai. Add ginger, and garlic and saute for a few seconds. Next, add scallions and mix well. Add onion, bell peppers, and carrots. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes (images 9 and 10). Add red chili sauce, tomato ketchup (tomato sauce), dark soy sauce, and vinegar. Mix well (images 11 and 12).
Step 5: Add vegetable stock and bring it to a boil (image 13). Add the cornflour-water mixture to the gravy. Let it simmer on medium heat until the gravy thickens slightly (image 14).
Step 6: Add the fried gobi florets and mix well. Garnish with spring onions and serve hot (images 15 and 16).
Keep all the ingredients ready and handy before starting cooking. Chop the vegetables, measure the sauces, and deep fry the cauliflower before you begin making the Manchurian sauce/gravy.
Use vegetable stock to make the Manchurian gravy instead of water. While water can also be used, making the sauce with vegetable stock gives the best taste to the gravy.
Choose the right cauliflower. The cauliflower florets should be compact and the leaves must be green and crisp.
While cauliflower is the main vegetable in this dish, adding onion, carrots, and bell pepper give a great texture and crunch to the dish. Make sure they are chopped finely and stir-fried briefly so they retain their crunch.
I use dark soy sauce to make this dish which gives the dish its deep color. However, you may use light soy sauce or a mix of both.
Soy sauce is quite salty. So adjust the salt level accordingly.
Red chili paste is a common ingredient in Indo-Chinese cooking and is made using dried chilies. To make it, soak one cup of dried chilies in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water and add ¼ cup of vinegar. Grind it into a smooth and thick paste (add a little water if needed). You can use the water in which the chilies were soaked for grinding.
Chinese cooking is done on high heat very quickly. Stir-frying on high heat produces the characteristic smoky flavor – but take care not to burn the food.
Pro-tip: Use vegetable stock instead of water to make this dish delicious and best-tasting.
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Indian-Chinese or Indo-Chinese food is a distinct fusion cuisine where Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques are adapted to Indian taste buds. Popularly known as Desi Chinese, they are one of the most famous forms of street food in India. This cuisine originated from the Chinese community in Kolkata and is very famous within and outside India. Chinese sauces like soy sauce and vinegar combined with Indian ingredients like ginger, garlic, and chili create the most unique-tasting and delicious dishes.
It can be served as an appetizer or can be paired with Hakka noodles or fried rice and served as a part of the main meal.
To make it gluten-free, replace the all-purpose flour used to deep fry the cauliflower with rice flour.
Red chili paste is a common ingredient in Indo-Chinese cooking and is made using dried chilies. To make it, soak one cup of dried chilies in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water and add ¼ cup vinegar. Grind it into a smooth and thick paste (add a little water if needed). You can use the water in which the chilies were soaked for grinding.
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- 1 medium cauliflower
For the batter:
For the Manchurian gravy/sauce:
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 inch ginger finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- ¼ cup scallion finely chopped
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 small carrot finely chopped
- ¼ cup bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon red chili paste
- 2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon green onions
Frying the cauliflower florets:
- Boil water in a large stockpot. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add 1 teaspoon salt.
- Add the cauliflower florets and let it simmer for 4 minutes.
- Strain the cauliflower and let it cool completely.
- Combine all the ingredients to make the batter in a bowl - flour, cornstarch, red chili paste, ginger garlic paste, white pepper, and salt.
- Slowly add water and make a smooth and lump-free batter.
- Heat oil for deep-frying.
- Dip the blanched cauliflower in the batter and deep fry until they are crispy and golden. Set aside.
Making the Manchurian gravy/sauce:
- Heat oil in a large wok/kadhai. Add ginger, and garlic and saute for a few seconds.
- Add scallions, onion, bell peppers, and carrots. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
- Add red chili paste, tomato ketchup, dark soy sauce, and vinegar. Mix well.
- Add vegetable stock and bring to boil.
- Meanwhile, mix 1 tablespoon of corn flour in ¼ cup of water to make a slurry.
- Add the slurry to the sauce. Add salt and pepper, and mix well.
- Let it simmer until the gravy thickens slightly.
- Add the fried cauliflower florets and mix well. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish with green onions and serve hot.