Gobi Manchurian is a popular Indo Chinese starter or snack of batter coated and pan fried crispy cauliflower florets tossed in a spicy, umami, savory, sauce made with alliums, herbs, spices, soy sauce and tomato ketchup.
Firstly chop or break the gobi (cauliflower) in medium or small sized florets.
Heat water with salt and boil it. Rinse the cauliflower florets and add them to the hot water.
Let them get blanched in the water for 15 to 20 minutes. Later drain and keep aside.
Pan Frying Cauliflower Florets
In a bowl mix together the ingredients for making the batter - all purpose flour, cornstarch, soy sauce, black pepper, kashmiri red chili powder and salt.
Add water and whisk to make a smooth batter without any lumps.
Dip each cauliflower floret in the batter.
Fry the batter coated cauliflower florets in hot oil. I have pan fried and added about 6 tablespoons of oil. Later I have not added any oil while stir frying the spring onions etc.
You can also deep fry or shallow fry. I have fried in batches of three. So depending on the size of your pan, you can fry at once or in batches. This frying takes some time.
When one side gets cooked and crisp, turn over each cauliflower florets and pan fry the uncooked sides.
Flip for a couple of times more, so that the cauliflower florets are evenly fried and light golden.
Drain the fried cauliflower florets on a kitchen paper towel. Fry all the cauliflower florets this way in batches.
Making Gobi Manchurian
No need to add any oil again as there will be some oil remaining in wok or pan. To the same wok or pan, add chopped ginger, garlic and green chilies. Sauté for some seconds till the raw aroma of ginger and garlic go away.
Then add the chopped spring onions and capsicum. Add chopped celery if using. Increase the heat and stir fry till the capsicum is half cooked or almost cooked.
Add soy sauce, tomato ketchup, black pepper and salt. Stir.
Add the pan fried cauliflower florets.
Mix very well ensuring that the spiced sauce coats the fried cauliflower florets well.
Lastly add rice vinegar and stir well. Switch off the heat. Check the taste and add more of soy sauce or tomato ketchup as per your taste.
Mix in the chopped spring onions greens or garnish with them while serving cauliflower manchurian.
Serve Dry Gobi Manchurian as a snack or as a side dish with veg fried rice or mushroom fried rice or veg hakka noodles or veg noodles.
Capsicum (Bell Pepper): You can skip the capsicum in the recipe. You can even use red or yellow bell peppers.
Spring Onions: Instead of spring onions, you can use white onions or red onions or shallots.
Green Chillies: A serrano pepper or anaheim pepper can be substituted for green chillies. You can even substitute dry red chillies instead of green chillies. Just crush them and use. Dried red chilli flakes can also be added instead of green chillies.
Corn Starch: Instead of cornstarch, you can even use tapioca starch or potato starch.
All-purpose flour: Whole wheat flour can be used instead of all purpose flour (maida).
Frying: Fry the cauliflower florets in oil which is neither too hot nor at a low temperature.
Ajinomoto: You can choose to avoid Ajinomoto completely in the recipe or use it sparingly.