Cauliflower Manchurian

Deep-fried twice until deliciously crispy and then, stir-fried with tons of aromatics and a sweet and spicy sauce, gobi or cauliflower Manchurian works beautifully as a starter with a chilled beverage or as a main course served over steamed rice or soft noodles.

Ingredients:

For the crisp cauliflower florets

  • 500 grams of cauliflower cut into even sized florets
  • 4 tbsp of cornflour
  • 6-7 tbsp of all purpose flour; you may need another teaspoon or so
  • 120 ml or 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 of salt
  • Oil to deep fry

For the stir fry

  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • Half an inch of ginger finely minced
  • 1 small onion, diced in small pieces
  • 3-4 gloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • Half a green capsicum diced into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp of finely minced coriander
  • 1 tbsp of finely sliced green onions
  • 1/4 tsp of monosodium glutamate (optional); for that restaurant-style like flavour, omit as I do if you prefer as this dish would be just as delicious without it
  • 1 tbsp of dark soya sauce
  • 3 tbsp of ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1-2 tsp of sugar (optional; to balance the flavours especially if you are using reduced sugar ketchup; you can taste a little and decide if you need it)
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tsp of corn flour

Method:

  • Add the cornflour to about 4 tbsp of all purpose flour, stir in the salt and add in the water gradually and stir until you get a smooth batter.
  • Add in the cauliflower florets and carefully stir to coat the florets thoroughly with the batter; you will find that the consistency of the batter is just right to get within all of the nooks and corners of the florets.
  • Now sprinkle in the rest of flour until the batter is thick and sticky; this step ensures that the florets get crisp once they are deep-fried.
  • Set aside and place a deep and wide pan over high heat.
  • Pour enough oil to fill about an inch of the pan and once the oil is hot about 190 C to 200 C, drop the cauliflower florets carefully into the oil without crowding the pan and fry until the batter is set and mildly golden; we are only looking to cook the cauliflower and the batter at this stage (this should take about 6-8 minutes per batch).
  • Once all of your florets are fried, ensuring that the oil is very hot, add all of the fried florets into the oil to deep-fry again until deeply golden and crispy (this should take about 4-6 minutes).
  • Once the florets are crisp (try one carefully), take them off the oil and place them over paper towels to absorb the steam and the excess oil.
  • Place another wok or a pan over high heat and add in 2 tbsp of oil.
  • Once hot, add in the ginger and fry until fragrant and golden at the edges.
  • Add in the onions, the garlic and the salt and stir-fry until fragrant.
  • Add in the minced bell pepper (capsicum) and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until crisp and yet cooked through.
  • Now, add in the ketchup, soya sauce and chilli powder into the wok and stir well to combine.
  • Meanwhile, mix the cornflour and the water to make a slurry and pour into the work/ pan and stir well immediately.
  • Give it a quick taste and stir in the sugar as needed.
  • Add in coriander and green onions and at this point, you can add in the monosodium glutamate if you want that restaurant like umami taste; omit if you prefer as it would be just as delicious without it.
  • As the sauce thickens within seconds, add in the crispy florets and stir well to coat in the sauce.
  • Serve immediately on its own as an appetiser or with steamed jasmine rice, over fried rice or noodles and enjoy!

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