Gobi Manchurian or Cauliflower Manchurian originated in India and is one of the most popular appetizers but also popular as an evening snack. This Indo-Chinese dish is unknown in mainland China but is served in all varieties of Indian food eateries from star hotels to pricey restaurants to cheap fast foods to roadside carts just like the much-loved Chats like Pani Puri, Bhel Puri etc . Savored by all classes of people with energy and excitement and equally loved by both genders. I order them at restaurants as a appetizer before a hearty meal and have not been immune to having it as a snack in fast foods. Served hot and crunchy, tooth picks or forks are provided for easy handling and scrumptious gulp, one at a time. Many go for additional sauce during consumption.
By itself, Gobi Manchurian is Cauliflower florets dipped in a batter made from Corn Flour, Rice Flour, Maida and deep fried in oil and then mixed with saucy Chinese inspired ingredients like Soy Sauce, Spring Onions, MSG/Ajinomoto and Ginger Garlic paste. Essentially, Cauliflower fritters covered in sweet-spicy sauce or as they say, hot and sweet sauce.
Gobi/Cauliflower Manchurian Gravy
There are two versions of Gobi or Cauliflower Manchurian – dry and gravy. The two are not too different; the gravy version is a little more liquified. What I am going to describe here would be the dry version. For an example of the gravy version, check out this great post by Sharmilee, a blogger I truly admire.
Variations of Manchurian
You may also be interested in the Baby Corn Manchurian Recipe. I find myself liking Baby Corn Manchurian more these days, may be because I have had Gobi Manchurian so many times now. Also try out Gobi Manchurian Balls. The fritters prepared during Gobi Manchurian can be used to make Gobi Rice or Cauliflower Rice. Mix spiced up rice with fried Gobi florets and you have delicious Gobi Rice or Cauliflower Rice to serve.
Gobi Manchurian Ingredients:
- Gobi (Cauliflower) – 1 large-sized
- Corn Flour – 5 tsp or 2-1/2 Tbsp
- Rice Flour – 2 tsp
- Maida / All Purpose Flour – 2 tsp
- Cooking or Baking Soda – 1 pinch
- Red Color – 2 pinches (optional)
- Red Chilly Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Ginger Garlic Paste – ½ tsp
- Chopped Green Chilly – 1
- Chopped Onion – 1
- Spring Onion – 1/2 cup (optional)
- Vinegar – 2 tsp
- Soya Sauce – 1 tsp
- Ajinomoto or China Salt or Tasting salt – 2 pinch (optional)
- Tomato Sauce – 1 cup (Hot and Sweet sauce preferred)
- Coriander leaves / Cilantro
How to Make Gobi Manchurian:
1) Cut the Gobi into medium sized florets. Boil a minute or two the florets in little salt and water. Discard the salted water. The idea here is not to cook Gobi but to have clean non-contaminated florets for preparation.
2) Mix Rice flour, Maida, Corn flour, Baking Soda, red color (optional), salt and Red chilly powder with water. Prepare batter which is just as thick as a Dosa Batter.
3) Heat oil in a frying pan. Take the florets one at a time, dip it into the batter and drop into heated oil and deep fry as shown in the image. Keep the fried florets aside.
4) Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan. To the heated oil, add chopped Spring Onions, Ginger Garlic paste and chopped regular Onions and fry till the Onions turn golden brown. Now add Green chillies and fry for a min.
5) Add Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Ajino Moto, half cup of Tomato sauce and mix well. This forms the saucy masala mixture required for Gobi Manchurian.
6) Drop fried Gobi florets from Step 3 above to the masala mixture. Mix the ingredients well until all the fritters blend well with the masala. Garnish with chopped Coriander leaves, if you prefer.
The Gobi Manchurian is now ready to be served. Serve with your favorite Tomato Sauce.
a) I have not used red food color for my Gobi Manchurian preparation due to health concerns.
b) I have heard from many that adding Ajino Moto (tasting salt) gives good taste to the Manchurian. You can use it if the Gobi Manchurian is not going to be tasted/consumed by pregnant women or toddlers.
Origin of Manchurian Recipe
Manchuria is a province in the north eastern part of China partly inhabited by ethnic group called Manchu. The larger region of Manchuria extends to Russia as well. Manchurian would imply ‘related to Manchuria’ or China in a broad sense symbolizing the Indo-Chinese nature of Gobi Manchurian or Cauliflower Manchurian.
As I said earlier, the dish has no base in mainland China and only nature of spices and seasonings used makes it go closer to Chinese Cuisine. Soya Sauce, Ginger, Garlic, Spring Onions and Ajinomoto, used here in Gobi Manchurian are well known ingredients in traditional Chinese Cuisine. The recipe itself is claimed to have been invented by Nelson Wang, the famed chef and founder of highly acclaimed China Garden chain of restaurants in Mumbai. When he was working for Cricket Club of India as a chef in Mumbai, he was challenged by a guest to prepare something different than what was listed in the menu. He then came up with a Manchurian recipe with ingredients like Soy Sauce, Ginger, Garlic and Corn Flour. This simple dish found a permanent place in Indian Cuisine.
Manchurian as a dish that has roots in China is limited to the fact that Nelson Wang was born out of Chinese Immigrants settled in Kolkata. Kolkata has a large Chinese population which immigrated to Kolkata to work in Calcutta port in 19th century. Hence, even though the name indicates Chinese dish, the Manchurian clan was born and popularized in India.
Gobi Manchurian has couple of siblings in Vegetarian cuisine like Baby Corn Manchurian, Vegetable Manchurian and some that I had not heard before like Cabbage Manchurian and Aloo Manchurian. There is even a Baked Potato Manchurian. But Gobi Manchurian is by far the most popular one.