I have been trying to be healthy. No cheese, less wine, no chocolates and none of those other things either, but it’s getting boring. Looking at the big cauliflower lurking in my fridge, I considered another salad or a lean stir fry, but my body yearned for something more satisfying, something fried! Time to attempt my first Gobi Manchurian.
I first came across this Indian – Chinese dish in Fort Cochin, Kerala, India in 2012. Once discovered, we ate it every second night at Casa Linda.*
On returning to Melbourne, we sourced some very tasty versions in Sydney Rd, Brunswick.* Gobi Manchurian is a spicy Indian cauliflower dish incorporating Chinese elements in the sauce. Serve it with fat white rice, such as Sunrice medium grain rice. I noticed that Keralans don’t use Basmati and I have come to appreciate medium grain rice again. Oh, to return to Kerala, God’s own country.
The recipe is a version from Saveur, but I have altered it slightly. This makes a piggy amount for two, or serve with another dish, for example dhal, for four.
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2- 5 cm. pieces peeled fresh ginger (1 cut into thin rounds, 1 julienned)
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
- 1/3 cup cornflour/ cornstarch
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 1/2 tsp.red chilli powder
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 1 tsp. plus 1.5 tbsp. soy sauce
- Peanut or canola oil for frying
- 1 small onion,finely chopped
- 2-3 chilli, thinly sliced
- 1⁄4 cup tomato sauce/ketchup
- 1 tsp.or more sesame oil
- 1 scallions, thinly sliced
- coriander leaves
1. Purée garlic, the ginger slices, and a little water in a blender; set aside. Boil cauliflower in a pot of salted water until tender, 6–7 minutes; drain.
2. Whisk together cornstarch, flour, chilli powder, 1⁄4 tsp. salt, and a little pepper in a bowl. Stir in half the garlic paste, 1 tsp. soy sauce, and 1/3 ( approx) cup water to make a batter.
3. Pour oil into a large deep wok to a depth of 3cms; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, dip cauliflower in batter; fry until golden, turning, 5–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
4. Drain all but about 3 tbsp. of the oil. Add onion; cook for 3–4 minutes. Add chilli and remaining garlic paste; cook until paste is lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, remaining soy sauce, sesame oil, and a little water. Boil; lower heat to low; simmer until thick, 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; toss cauliflower in sauce to reheat.
5. Garnish with remaining ginger, scallions, and coriander. Serve with white rice and yoghurt or raita.
*Casa Linda, Dispensary Road, Fort Cochin, India
*Bilal, 860 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Australia 3056