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Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to make crunchy and delicious gobi manchurian.

A delicious concoction of lightly battered gobi or cauliflower in a chili-laced sweet and sour sauce. Despite its name, the dish is virtually unknown in Manchuria - China or Russia

Americans could call this as General Tso's cauliflower or as Rashmi Bansal posts on her blog -
Then, one day  (a few decades ago) Nelson Wang ( a Mumbai restaurant owner) deep fried some boneless pieces of chicken, dunked them in a hot n spicy Indian style sauce and came up with the exotic sounding name 'Manchurian'. And Chinese was permanently de-chinkified and took on Indian culinary citizenship.

Gobi manchurian is sometimes also called Gobhi Manchurian, Gopi Manchurian or Cauliflower Manchurian.
This recipe of gobi manchurian makes the outside crunchy and chewy and the cauliflower or the gobi is just done. Variations of the gobi manchurian recipes also turn out some other interesting finger foods like chilli gobi (HOT stuff).

This recipe of gobi manchurian serves 6.

Gobhi manchurian can be made in 2 styles - dry gobi manchurian and gobi manchurian gravy... we usually prepare the dry gobi manchurian in the Isha kitchen.

The recipe with instructions seems slightly long but if you follow it, I can assure you success = crunchy and a little chewy on the outside and well done inside, in a mouth watering, sweet, tangy and a spicy sauce.

Ingredients for gobi manchurian –

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ginger paste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder (coarse)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour or maida
  • 3/4 cup corn starch (NOT corn meal or corn flour). Substitutes like tapioca starch or arrowroot powder may not work well
  • 6-8 cubes of ice
  • Water (if you don’t have ice, add very cold water)
Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the ginger paste followed by the soy sauce, ice cubes and water. The batter should not be too runny nor thick. Don’t over mix.
Mix the batter after all the prep work is done and while the oil is warming up.  

  • 1 medium Gobi / Cauliflower (5 inches in diameter) serves 5-6 people
    Cut the cauliflower into small bite sized florets by vertically slitting the stem of the bigger pieces with a pointed knife.
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped to 1 inch x 1 inch pieces
Heat enough oil for deep frying in a thick bottomed skillet or wok on medium high heat. Test the oil temperature buy dropping a small piece of gobi dipped in batter in the hot oil. If it bubbles and rises to the top within seconds, then the temperature is right. If it sinks to the bottom that means the oil is not hot enough.
When the oil is hot, carefully add 5 – 6 pieces of the battered gobi and bell pepper. Don't overcrowd the pan. Carefully add the florets dipped in batter, leaving space around each piece so it cooks evenly. If you add too many pieces at once, the oil temperature will suddenly drop and the food will absorb the oil and become soggy and may clump up. If the pieces stick together, separate them and fry.
Fry till it is golden in color. If it looks whitish, it is still not cooked.
Keep aside. DO NOT COVER it with a lid after frying.

The Manchurian sweet, tangy, spicy sauce ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ginger paste
  • 3 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup OR tomato paste mixed with 3 Tbsp water (use tomato paste if you want to avoid the onion powder in the ketchup)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • ½ tsp paprika powder (this is added for flavor and color)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili paste (optional) – To make the chili paste blend 10 dried red chilies (without seeds) in ½ cup of lime juice or vinegar or water. Or simply soak hot red pepper flakes without seeds in lime juice or vinegar overnight. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of left over chili paste to store in refrigerator for future use.
  • 1 tsp oil
  • ½ tsp corn starch mixed with 3 Tbsp water for slurry
Making the sweet, tangy, spicy Manchurian sauce
The cooking time for the sauce will not be more than a couple of minutes so have everything ready in small bowls to add.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the ginger paste, paprika and black pepper powder, sauté for ½ - 1 min on low heat, add the chilli paste according to taste, turn heat to high.
Keep stirring and add the tomato ketchup or tomato paste mixed with water and soy sauce. As this comes to a boil add the sugar.
After a minute add the cornstarch slurry and keep stirring for a minute on high heat. To avoid over cooking the slurry, add it only near the end of your cooking time.
Taste and add salt if necessary (this will depend on your soy sauce). Remove the pan off the stove.
Your gobhi Manchurian sauce is ready.

Pour the hot sauce on the fried Gobi pieces and toss. Do not cook the fried gobi in the sauce.
Sprinkle white sesame seeds and coarsely chopped cilantro leaves. Serve hot.

Please let me know how it turns out or if I you face any challenges.


  1. This is the kind of post I'd LOVE to see more much more inspiring than that ghastly, cheezy story. :D

  2. Sam - I would love to see these kind of posts than that cheezy story :-)

  3. Awesome recipe!!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. why mix the batter with ice cubes

    1. To retard gluten formation in the batter and keep the outside crunchy. Try with and without the ice and let me know if you notice the difference. Ty.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Very informative and unique tips dear. Thanks for sharing :)
    Lovely Read!