Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A healthier Gobi Manchurian

Gobi Manchurian is a product of "Indian Chinese" cuisine. This is neither Indian nor Chinese, but a cuisine that has evolved over the many years Chinese people have had restaurants in India, similar to how Chinese restaurants in North America have items such as fortune cookies that you won't see in Chinese restaurants in China. Any city with a sizeable Indian population will have Indian Chinese restaurants. To me, the cuisine is totally unique and usually very delicious.

One of my favorite dishes is called "Gobi Manchurian." It's cauliflower florets breaded and deep fried and topped with a delicious piquant ginger/garlic/onion topping. You can order it dry with a minimal sauce, which is usually eaten as an appetizer or "wet" with a gravy that is usually eaten with rice as part of the main meal.

I love this dish but I like to eat healthy at home and deep frying just doesn't make the cut. So I tried a roasting technique I learned from another recipe, and put a gobi manchurian sauce on it. This is what I ended up with:

Roasted Gobi Manchurian

1 head cauliflower
2 tsp olive oil

2 tsp Oil
4 tsp ginger, minced
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red chili flakes (or more, to taste)
1 small bunch spring onions (about 5) sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 F. Cut cauliflower into florets. Toss cauliflower with 2 tsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in oven for 45 minutes, turning once or twice during this time period, or until browned and fork tender.

When cauliflower is almost done, heat 2 tsp oil in a medium-hot frying pan. Add ginger, garlic and crushed red chilli and fry for a minute, or until slightly soft. Add the salt and spring onions, stir fry for just another 60 seconds or so.

Add 2 tsp. cornstarch to 1/2 cup water and dissolve well with a fork or whisk. Add to the onion mixture and stir continuously till it boils. Boil till the sauce becomes thick and transparent, not more than a few minutes. Add in roasted cauliflower, stir to coat, and serve.


The cauliflower was great, Mahesh especially loved it. For me, it was very good but the sauce wasn't as strong/piquant as I remembered from the restaurant. Maybe it needs some vinegar? Not sure. I doubled the ginger and garlic in the recipe I am recording here for next time, and I will compare this with other Gobi Manchurian sauces to find out how to make this closer to the restaurant version, this sauce would be nice to try.

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