Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cauliflower Manchurian (Gobi manchurian)

Manchurian is one of the popular dishes of Indian-Chinese cuisine. India and China, despite being neighboring countries, have varying spices used, distinct flavors in food and different styles of cooking. This is said to have originated with Chinese immigrants to Calcutta and the eastern parts of India.

So, what are the Chinese attributes of Indian-Chinese cuisine? 1. Stir-frying and 2. Soy sauce.  Stir-frying is just a technique of cooking vegetables faster while retaining its flavor. The Chinese traditionally cook in a deep 'wok' on high heat using a little oil/fat.

Soy sauce is made from soy beans and can be found in the Asian/International section of your stores. There are 2 basic types of soy sauce used in Chinese cooking - light and dark soy sauce. For our recipe, it doesn't really matter which variety we use, but, please make sure your soy sauce does not contain MSG.

A friendly warning - Do not mention "Manchurian" to try to flaunt off your knowledge of Chinese food to your friends from South-East Asia!! They wouldn't have heard of it, unless they had tried it at restaurants serving Indian-Chinese food! :D

Without further ado, let's go on to the recipe :)

Difficulty level - Easy 
Time  - 45 minutes

What You Need -

For the Batter:

Cornflour -120 g
Maida (All-purpose flour) - 80 g
Ginger-Garlic-Green-chillies paste - 1.5 tsp
Finely chopped onions - 1 cup
Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
Salt, if needed

For the Gravy:

Capsicum/ Bell pepper - 1 (chopped into 1" squares)
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Ginger-Garlic-Green-chillies paste - 1 tsp
Soy Sauce - 3 tbsp
Tomato ketch up - 3 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - to garnish

How I Made It:

  1. Take a bunch of cauliflower, cut them into florets, cover them with enough water, add 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder, cover & cook for no more than 5 minutes. The turmeric makes the gobi taste great. 
  2. Let them sit for 5 more minutes, then strain the water and keep the florets aside.
  3. Make the batter with the ingredients given above, by adding water little by little, till you get the required consistency. It should neither be too watery nor too thick like a paste.
  4. Dip the florets into the batter and deep fry them in refined oil. Wait to see the golden-yellow color. Drain on kitchen tissues.
Do you think I missed out salt? Nah! Soy sauce generally comes with salt added and that's good enough. Remember we add soy sauce to the batter as well as to the gravy, therefore, check the taste before adding salt.

We're almost there! The rest of the process takes only about 5 minutes. 

  • Take a wok (ok, even an Indian kadai or karahi will do :P). Heat 2 tsp oil, sauté 'Triple G' paste (ginger-garlic-green chillies paste).
  • Stir-fry onions followed by capsicum.
  • Increase the heat to 'High' and add soy sauce. Sprinkle sugar. Add tomato ketch up. Stir well.
  • Add the gobi chunks, mix them together and switch off the flame.
  • This dish should have almost no gravy - just a coating sauce. If it is too dry, add 1/4 cup of water and mix well. 
  • Garnish with cilantro/ coriander leaves.

Gobi manchurian makes a delicious entrée.  It can also be served as a part of the main course with rice or roti.  Enjoy!

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