This weekend I decided to make some Indo-Chinese food. That is Chinese food with an Indian flair. No self-respecting Chinese restaurant will ever serve this , as it is not considered as 'authentic' Chinese, so do not even bother asking for it. Cauliflower fritters tossed in a tangy and spicy sauce is commonly called Gobi ( Cauliflower ) Manchurian. You can make this dish dry ( that is, with just enough sauce to coat the fritters - makes a wonderful cocktail snack with toothpicks stuck in it ), or you can make it with a little 'gravy' ( that is, with a little extra sauce, to serve over piping hot white rice or noodles. ). I adapted this recipe from my days training in the kitchen of a five-star hotel in Mumbai.
Along with this I also made some lo mein noodles and some vegetable spring rolls. Recipes to come.......
For the Fritters
1 medium sized whole cauliflower, cut up into medium sized florets
1- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp soy sauce ( I used the one with less-sodium )
salt, to taste
For the Sauce
2 tbsp oil
1 heaped tbsp finely chopped garlic, ( about 6-7 cloves )
1 heaped tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp + 1 tsp, finely chopped green chilies ( about 8-9 chilies )
1/2 big onion, or 1 small onion, finely chopped
6-7 spring onions, chopped up, separate the white parts from the greens
3 - 3 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chili sauce ( I did not have this so I used Maggi's sweet and chili sauce)
1 tsp vinegar ( I used rice wine vinegar )
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp red chili powder ( depending on how spicy you want it to be )
1 tsp corn flour, mix it with 2 tbsp water
1/2 cup water
( If you want to make it with gravy, increase the corn flour/starch to 2 tsp and the water to 1 1/2 cups )
For the Fritters
- In a large shallow mixing bowl, add the cauliflower pieces, ( take the next three ingredients from the Sauce Ingredients )1/2 tbsp garlic, 1/2 tbsp ginger, 1/2 tbsp green chillies and salt. Toss this altogether and set aside for 10 minutes. When the cauliflower has sweated a little, add the soy sauce to it and sprinkle the flour and corn flour mixture over it. Sprinkle some water, just a little so that the flour sticks to the cauliflower pieces. Do not turn this into a slurry, it should just look like a sticky mess - look at the picture below.
- Set aside.
- Heat some oil in a saucepan, wok or deep fryer. When hot, drop in the flour coated pieces and fry until light golden brown. Do not make them too brown or else it gets too chewy. When all the pieces are fried, drain the on an absorbent paper, set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil and when hot, add the ginger, green chilies and garlic, saute for a minute and then add the 1/2 onion and the white parts of a spring onions. Saute for another brief minute on medium high to high heat.
Next goes in the soy sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, chili powder, vinegar and the green part of the spring onions ( save some for the garnish ). Stir it all together. Taste it and adjust the seasoning accordingly. To some the salt from the soy sauce is just right but to others who need a little extra salt, go ahead and add some, but please do so only after you taste the sauce first.
- Now mix in the corn flour slurry with the 1/2 cup of water and add it to the saucepan. Stir it all together and bring it to a boil. Once it starts to boil, it will start to thicken too, at this time do ahead and drop in the cauliflower pieces and toss them about so that all the pieces get coated with the sauce. After 1-2 minutes when the sauce thickens, take it off the heat. Garnish with some of the chopped up spring onions. Serve it hot with some noodles or plain rice. Enjoy this tangy dish and thank the Indians for re-inventing the Chinese food.