Spicy and crispy Gobi 65 recipe is a fried cauliflower appetizer or snack that everyone will love! It’s vegan, and simple to make with my step-by-step photos and recipe. Crunchy and savory Cauliflower 65 is perfect to serve with tomato ketchup, red chili sauce, chutneys, or your favorite condiment to dip.
Table of Contents
Why is it called Gobi 65?
Recipes that fall under the “65” category are very popular in Southern India. The first version is Chicken 65, and is believed to have originated at the Hotel Buhari in 1965.
But over the years many other ideas for how the name was created have emerged, like the story that the name comes from 65 chillies used or that each batch included 65 pieces of chicken.
Just as there are different versions of where 65 came from, there are now several variations of the classic recipe.
This Gobi 65 recipe is a popular vegetarian/vegan variation made with Cauliflower a.k.a Gobi. I have shared a few vegetarian and vegan options that are very tasty, too:
- Paneer 65 (made with Indian cottage cheese)
- Mushroom 65 (featuring button mushrooms)
- Aloo 65 (with the humble potatoes)
About This Recipe
Fried snacks with a kick of heat are fantastic to enjoy at the beginning of a meal, between meals, or really anytime! And this gobi 65 recipe is one of my favorite spicy dishes that I could eat throughout the day.
Although they do require a bit of prep work, these delightfully crispy and flavorful fried cauliflower florets are definitely worth the effort.
This rustic fried cauliflower recipe isn’t highly spicy as some other 65 dishes, so the garlic and ginger really come through for great depth of flavor.
Here the florets are marinated in a spicy marinade, prior to frying. This makes the florets absorb the spicy flavors, while keeping them terrifically light and crispy, and lets the spices shine.
How to make Gobi 65
1. First, chop one large cauliflower head into medium-sized florets. You want about 1.5 cups of chopped cauliflower, and smallish pieces tend to fry the best. Rinse the florets very well, dry, and place in a bowl.
2. Now add enough hot water so that the florets are covered. Cover and blanch the cauliflower florets for 15 to 20 minutes. After 15 to 20 minutes drain all the water and set the blanched cauliflower aside.
Note: Blanching cauliflower is an optional step to get rid of any insects or worms in the cauliflower.
Make Chili Garlic Paste
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add ¼ cup of warm or hot water. And 4 dry red chilies (or Kashmiri red chillies), and soak for 15 minutes.
Break or halve the red chillies and remove their seeds prior to soaking.
4. In a small grinder jar or chutney grinder, add 1.5 teaspoons of chopped garlic and 1.5 teaspoons of roughly chopped ginger.
5. Then add the soaked red chilies to the grinder.
6. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or as needed, and grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.
7. After the cauliflower has blanched for 15 to 20 minutes, drain the florets well and put them in a mixing bowl or deep pan.
8. Add the red chili paste.
9. Gently mix very well.
10. Then add 6 tablespoons of besan (gram flour or chickpea flour), 4 tablespoons of rice flour and 2 tablespoons of corn starch.
You can add fine corn meal or maize flour (makki ka atta) instead of corn starch for even more crunch, if you like.
11. Now add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon of red chili powder, ½ teaspoon of garam masala powder and ½ teaspoon of coriander powder.
12. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to brighten and bring the spices together for the gobi 65 marinade.
If you do not have lemon juice, swap with ½ to 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar, red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
13. Add ⅓ cup of water.
14. Sprinkle in salt.
15. Use a spatula or spoon to mix together very well. The batter should coat the cauliflower pieces well. Ensure that the batter is not thin or runny or dry or doughy. The cauliflower florets should hold the batter.
TIP 1: If the mixture looks dry, doughy, sprinkle a few tablespoons of water and mix.
TIP 2: If the batter drips from the florets or is runny or thin, add a few tablespoons of gram flour or chickpea flour.
16. Cover the pan and allow the cauliflower to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.
17. Now it is time to lightly fry the marinated and battered cauliflower florets. Heat 7 to 8 tablespoons of preferred frying oil in a kadai or deep skillet. You can add more oil if you prefer.
When the oil becomes medium hot, about 350 degrees to 356 degrees Fahrenheit (175 to 180 degrees Celsius), use a spoon to carefully place the cauliflower florets in the hot oil. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan, so you’ll likely need to work in batches.
18. Fry on one side for a few minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Gently turn the pieces over with a slotted spoon, and continue to fry on the other side.
19. Turn the florets back and forth until evenly fried on all sides.
20. Remove the fried cauliflower florets with a slotted spoon, and place them on kitchen paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Fry the remaining gobi 65 in batches.
The tempering step is optional and you could stop once the cauliflower pieces are fried. Serve these cruncy, crispy cauliflower with any dip or your choice or eat them as is.
But if you prefer some more flavors and spices in your gobi 65, then proceed onto the tempering step below.
21. Tempering the fried cauliflower with a seasoned hot oil infuses the gobi with spice and wonderful aromatics. To create the base of the tempering mixture, remove all but 2 teaspoons of oil from the skillet. Or opt to use 2 teaspoons of fresh oil.
Turn on medium heat, add ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Then add 2 to 3 dry red chilies (halved and seeds removed). Fry until the dry red chilies change color to a darker reddish shade.
22. Next add ¼ cup of chopped onions (or spring onion whites), 1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger and 5 to 6 fresh curry leaves.
Note that you can skip adding onions if you prefer.
23. Stir and saute until the onions turn translucent.
24. Then add salt to taste. To cut the spiciness a bit you can also add a pinch or two of sugar. Mix well.
25. Add the fried cauliflower florets to the pan, and immediately turn off the stovetop heat.
26. Toss and stir to coat the cauliflower with the mixture.
27. Now add 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves.
Serve cauliflower 65 hot or warm with sauces, chutneys, and your favorite side dishes. Drizzle some lemon juice while eating. Enjoy!
Tips + FAQs
Cut back on the number of dried red chiles called for in this recipe, and instead only use 1 to 2 chilies for just a bit of heat.
Fried cauliflower does taste best when enjoyed right after being prepared. However, leftovers will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 to 2 days. I recommend that you reheat by baking in an oven or toaster for about 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees celsius).
This genre of 65 recipes gives best taste, texture and flavor when they are fried and not baked. For health reasons, you can experiment with baking, but make sure that the cauliflower pieces are not half cooked.
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Gobi 65 Recipe (Cauliflower 65)
- 350 grams cauliflower (gobi) or 3 cups small to medium cauliflower florets
- hot water as required – for covering gobi florets
For Red Paste
- 4 dry red chilies or Kashmiri red chillies with seeds removed – soaked in ¼ cup hot water
- 1.5 teaspoons chopped garlic or 5 to 6 medium-sized cloves
- 1.5 teaspoons chopped ginger or 1 to 1.5 inches ginger
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water or as required – for blending
- 6 tablespoons gram flour (besan) – sub with chickpea flour instead
- 4 tablespoons rice flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (ground turmeric)
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder (ground coriander)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup water or as needed
- salt as required
- 7 to 8 tablespoons oil or as needed
- 2 teaspoons oil or 2 tsp of the fried leftover oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ¼ cup finely chopped onions or spring onion whites or 1 small onion
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic or 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger or 1 inch ginger
- 3 to 4 green chilies – slit
- 2 to 3 dry red chilies – broken and seeds removed
- 5 to 6 curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 1 to 2 pinches salt or add as per taste
- 1 to 2 pinches sugar or add as per taste (optional)
- Chop the cauliflower in small pieces. Rinse them very well and keep in a bowl.
- Now add enough hot water so that all the florets are covered. Cover and blanch the florets for 15 to 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, add ¼ cup warm or hot water and soak 4 dry red chilies in it for 15 minutes.
- In a small grinder jar or chutney grinder, add 1.5 tsp chopped garlic and 1.5 tsp roughly chopped ginger.
- Add the soaked red chilies.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoon water or as needed and grind to a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Drain the cauliflower florets of all the water very well and take them in a mixing bowl or pan.
- Add the red paste. Mix very well.
- Then add gram flour, rice flour and corn starch.
- Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder and coriander powder.
- Also add ½ to 1 tsp lemon juice and ⅓ cup water.
- Next add salt. Combine and mix everything very well. The batter should coat the cauliflower pieces and must not be runny or thin.
- If the mixture looks dry, doughy, sprinkle a few tablespoons of water and mix. If the batter drips from the florets or is runny or thin, add a few tablespoons of gram flour or chickpea flour.
- Cover and allow to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Frying Marinated Cauliflower
- Heat oil in a kadai (wok) or a frying pan. When the oil becomes medium hot, use a spoon to carefully place the cauliflower florets in the hot oil. Ensure that you do not overcrowd the pan, so you will have fry in batches.
- The oil should be medium hot at about 350 to 356 degrees Fahrenheit (175 to 180 degrees Celsius).
- Fry one side and when it becomes crisp, turn over with a slotted spoon and fry the other side.
- Fry them evenly, until they are golden and crisp turning them as needed. Fry them in batches.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the fried cauliflower florets and place them on kitchen paper towels to absorb extra oil. Work in batches this way.
- Now remove the extra oil from the kadai and keep 2 teaspoon oil in it or add fresh 2 teaspoon oil in another pan. Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds and crackle them. Then add 2 to 3 dry red chilies. Fry until the dry red chilies change color and become a darker shade of red.
- Next add ¼ cup chopped onions, 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger and 5 to 6 curry leaves.
- Stir and sauté until the onions turn translucent and are softened.
- Then add one to pinches of salt or add as per taste. You can also add a pinch or two of sugar. Mix well.
- Add the fried cauliflower florets. Switch off the heat.
- Toss and stir the whole mixture. Add chopped coriander leaves.
- Gobi 65 tastes best when eaten right after being prepared. But you can keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 to 2 days.
- While serving later, reheat by baking in an oven for about 5 to 10 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Blanching: The blanching method is optional and you can choose to omit this step. Blanching helps to get rid of any worms or insects in the cauliflower.
- Spicing: This recipe is a moderately spicy version and not very spicy. To reduce the spiciness and heat, include 1 to 2 dried red chillies and reduce the quantity of ginger and garlic to 1 teaspoon in the marinade.
- On Baking: This group of 65 recipes have the best crispy texture, flavor and taste when they are deep fried or shallow fried. Baking won’t give you flavorful crispy fried cauliflower. But for health reasons, you can opt to bake the florets. However do make sure the cauliflower pieces are properly cooked and tender.
Nutrition Info Approximate values
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This gobi 65 recipe from the blog archives (December 2015) has been republished and updated on 27 May 2021.