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Gobi Manchurian

Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 4 to 6 people
Calories: 275kcal
Author: Nisha Vora

Ingredients

Manchurian Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil of choice
  • 1- inch piece ginger, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 to 2 serrano peppers, chopped*
  • 1 large shallot (or 1/2 of a small red onion), finely diced
  • 6 scallions, whites and light green parts chopped (dark green tops sliced on a bias and reserved for garnish)
  • ½ cup (60g) chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sambal oelek or chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons organic ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons organic brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Fried Cauliflower

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small-medium florets (450-500g of florets)**
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (70g) all-purpose flour or + 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (98g) rice flour***
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (45g) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic, (or crushed with a press)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (mild chili powder)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (120 mL) water, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons more as needed****
  • Vegetable oil or high-heat oil for deep frying

Instructions

  • Make the Manchurian Sauce. Mix together soy sauce, chili sauce, ketchup, sugar, sesame oil, and vinegar in a bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until well combined.
  • Heat a flat-bottomed wok* over medium-high heat until it just starts to smoke. Then add 3 tablespoons of the oil and swirl the pan to get it up the lower sides of the pan. Add the ginger, garlic, and chili peppers, Cook for 1 minute, shaking the pan back and forth or stirring frequently. Add the shallots, scallion whites and light green parts, and green bell pepper, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan often, or until the aromatics start to get some color.
  • Add the sauce and stir fry for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir the cornstarch slurry again to incorporate, and then pour it into the pan. Mix well and stir until the sauce turns glossy and thickens a bit (should be very quick). Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to come to room temperature.**
  • Please read through the instructions before proceeding and read the "Tips" section, especially if you're new to deep frying.
  • Make the cauliflower batter: mix together the all-purpose flour or rice flour, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, chili powder, and salt in a large bowl. Gradually pour in the water and whisk until you have a lump-free and smooth batter that is quite thick and viscous (it should feel a little heavy with some resistance). Be cautious with the water (rice flour needs less water than AP flour).***
  • Heat the oil. Add enough oil to a saucepan or deep heavy-bottomed pan for deep frying, no more than 1/2 full of oil. Heat over medium heat. Line a large plate with a few paper towels.
  • Coat the florets. While the oil is heating, add a few florets to the batter and use a silicone spatula to toss the florets all over, coating all the crevices. Continue adding a few more florets until they're all coated.
  • Fry the cauliflower. Once the oil is at 335º-350ºF, lift out a few florets using a slotted spoon and add to the hot oil. Add a few more in batches, until half of the florets are in the oil. Wait 1 minute before stirring to prevent the batter from slipping off and sticking to other florets.
  • Fry the florets for a total of 6 to 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until they are golden brown (not just golden). Scoop up the florets with the spider or slotted spoon and gently shake it up and down to get rid of excess oil. Strain florets onto the paper towel-lined surface.
    Note: The exact time depends on the size of your pan and how much oil you have (rice flour is a little quicker than AP flour). Don’t worry if the florets stick together, as it’ll be easy to pry them apart once they’re out of the oil.
  • Allow the oil to return to 335º-350ºF—it should take 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, gently stir the remaining florets in the batter to ensure they’re well coated. Repeat the frying process with the second half of the florets.
  • Increase the heat to high and wait until the oil is at 375-400ºF (takes 3 to 6 minutes).**** Replace the paper towels with new ones.
  • Use the spider or spoon to add all of the florets to the oil and flash fry briefly, or until deeply golden browned (20-30 seconds for rice flour, 1 minute for AP flour). Strain onto the paper towels and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
  • Coat the cauliflower in sauce. When the florets are done frying, add them to the sauce (off the heat) and mix gently until well coated. Garnish with the reserved scallion greens and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Notes

Ingredient Notes
*For mild heat, omit the serrano peppers. For moderate heat, use 1 serrano pepper, remove the membranes. For a very spicy heat (our preference), use 2 serrano peppers with membranes intact. If you are very sensitive to coughing, omit the serrano peppers; but if you want more spiciness, use 2 or 2 ½ TBSP chili-garlic sauce instead of 1 ½ TBSP.
**Wash and dry your cauliflower thoroughly so there's no water left (water + hot oil don't mix!). 
***For gluten-free, use white rice flour instead of AP flour; also use tamari instead of soy sauce. 
****If using all-purpose flour, you may need slightly more water: about ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (150 mL).
Instruction Notes
*If not using a wok, heat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat for several minutes. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil and once it’s shimmering, add the ginger, garlic, and chili peppers. Cook for 60 to 90 seconds, stirring frequently. Add the shallots, scallion whites, and bell pepper, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring often.
**You can make the Manchurian sauce while frying the cauliflower to save time. Just allow the sauce to come to room temperature before tossing it with the cauliflower. If the sauce is hot when the cauliflower is added, it gets soggy pretty quickly. 
***If you add too much water and the batter is too thin, add a spoon of all-purpose flour, stir, and add more as needed. If using rice flour, add more cornstarch.
****If using a wok to fry the cauliflower, use medium-high heat on the flash fry instead of high heat, as it conducts heat a lot faster than other pans.