Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable that is used in many Indian dishes. One popular way to prepare cauliflower is to bread it and fry or bake it. This breaded and fried cauliflower dish is known by a few different names in Indian cuisine.
The Indian food made of breaded cauliflower is most commonly called “Gobi Manchurian” or “Cauliflower Manchurian”.
More Detailed Answer
Gobi Manchurian is a popular Indian Chinese fusion dish. It consists of florets of cauliflower (gobi) that are dredged in a spiced batter, then deep fried. The fried cauliflower is tossed in a sweet, sour and spicy sauce loaded with flavors like soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and chili sauce. Some recipes also add onions, bell peppers and celery to the sauce. The end result is a dish of crispy, battered cauliflower in a tangy and addictive sauce. It is believed to have originated in Chinese restaurants in Mumbai but has now become a beloved staple across India.
Some key features that distinguish Gobi Manchurian from other fried cauliflower dishes are:
- Use of a spiced batter coating on the cauliflower before frying
- An Indo-Chinese style sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar and chili sauce as base ingredients
- Addition of ginger, garlic, onions and veggies like bell peppers to the sauce
- A sweet, sour and hot flavor profile in the sauce
While Gobi Manchurian is the most popular name, this dish is also sometimes called:
- Cauliflower Manchurian
- Manchurian Gobi
- Cauliflower 65
- Gobi 65
- Chilli Cauliflower
The name “65” comes from a famous fried chicken dish called Chicken 65 which is believed to have originated from Chennai. The spicy chicken 65 dish inspired similar adaptations with other vegetables like cauliflower.
Origin of Gobi Manchurian
Gobi Manchurian has its roots in Chinese cuisine but evolved into a fusion dish in India.
There are a few theories about its exact origin:
- It was created by Chinese restaurants in Mumbai and was likely inspired by Chinese dishes like Manchurian chicken.
- The dish was invented in the 1970s by Nelson Wang, owner of a famous Chinese restaurant called China Garden in Mumbai.
- Gobi Manchurian was developed as an Indian adaptation of Chinese Manchurian dishes, tweaked to suit local tastes.
Whatever its exact origin, Gobi Manchurian has clearly become an iconic Indian Chinese restaurant dish. Its crispy fried cauliflower pairs perfectly with the flavorful Indo-Chinese sauce. The combination of tastes and textures has made it a hugely popular dish across India over the past few decades.
Ingredients in Gobi Manchurian
The main ingredients used in making Gobi Manchurian are:
For the cauliflower:
- Cauliflower florets – 1 head or 500g
- Besan (Gram flour) – 1/2 cup
- Rice flour – 2 tbsp
- Ginger & garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
- Chili powder – 1 tsp
- Paprika powder – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
- Chaat masala – 1/2 tsp
- Cooking Oil – for frying
For the Manchurian sauce:
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Garlic – finely chopped
- Red chili sauce – 3 tbsp
- Soy sauce – 3 tbsp
- Tomato ketchup – 3 tbsp
- Vinegar – 1.5 tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- Pepper powder – to taste
- Spring onion greens – 2 tbsp (for garnish)
The batter coated fried cauliflower is then combined with the prepared Manchurian sauce to get the final dish.
- Wash and cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets.
- In a bowl, mix together the besan, rice flour, ginger-garlic paste, soy sauce, chili powder, paprika powder, salt, cumin powder and chaat masala. Add water as needed to make a thick coating batter.
- Dip the cauliflower florets in the spiced batter to coat them evenly.
- Deep fry the battered cauliflower in hot oil on medium flame till golden and crisp. Drain excess oil.
- For the Manchurian sauce – heat oil in a pan. Saute chopped garlic on low flame for 1 minute.
- Add the red chili sauce, soy sauce, tomato ketchup, vinegar, salt and pepper powder. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the fried cauliflower florets. Gently toss to coat well in the sauce.
- Garnish with spring onion greens. Serve Gobi Manchurian hot and crispy.
Gobi Manchurian is usually served as a starter or side dish in Indian restaurants. Some popular accompaniments are:
- Fried Rice
- Hakka Noodles
- Fried Wontons
- Veggie Spring Rolls
- Chicken Lollipops
The combination of Gobi Manchurian with Indo-Chinese fried rice or noodles is a classic pairing.
Gobi Manchurian is a tantalizing Indo-Chinese fusion dish made by deep frying spiced, battered cauliflower florets and then sautéing them in a flavorful Manchurian sauce. The name indicates its Chinese inspiration but the use of Indian spices makes it a uniquely Indian specialty. With its crispy texture, tangy-sweet sauce and burst of heat, Gobi Manchurian has become a favorite appetizer on Indian Chinese restaurant menus and a staple snack across the country. The next time you are craving some spice and crunch, try out this irresistible cauliflower creation!