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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fried Cauliflower (Gobi) in Manchurian-Orange sauce

This is just my version of manchurian sauce as the original manchurian sauce is supposed to be a secret recipe and I didn't try to find it. I've tried to get the flavors from staples I have in my kitchen. This recipe is open for a lot of variation and experimentation with the sauce flavors.

For the sauce
4-5 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
4 Tbsp no-HFCS tomato ketchup
1 tsp white pepper powder (less if you like, adjust to taste; can substitute black pepper powder)
3-4 Tbsp plain white vinegar
5-6 Tbsp of pounded ginger-garlic-dry-red-chilies mixture (dry red chilies here are optional)
2-4 tsp orange zest (more if you like the orange flavor)
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
2 cups (about 12-16 oz) water

For the batter
either use packaged tempura mix
or make a thin batter of your choice
or combine
1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1/2 cup rice flour
2 Tbsp corn starch
salt to taste
water as needed to make a thin batter

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets- yields about 4 cups of florets
3-5 fresh mild green chilies, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)
1 green or yellow bell pepper, chopped (optional)
3-4 cups canola oil for frying (depends on the pot used for frying)
3-4 Tbsp canola oil for sauteeting
chopped cilantro and sliced green chilies for garnish

  1. add enough oil in a pot for frying, and let it heat up to 350°F
  2. meanwhile, make the batter in a good sized bowl
  3. add the cauliflower florets and green chilies to the batter in the bowl and coat all the florets uniformly and set aside
  4. set aside a plate/dish with a few paper towels for draining the fried cauliflower
  5. Sauce: in a separate saucepan, mix all the ingredients except corn starch for the sauce and bring it to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer on low till flavors meld
  6. By now oil should be ready for frying; without crowding the pot, fry in batches the florets coated with batter (and chilies, if using them) till they are crisp and golden brown; drain and collect on the paper towel lined dish in step 4
  7. taste the simmering sauce and adjust the flavors - add more pepper powder or soy sauce as needed; if too salty, balance with more sour or sweet flavors using tamarind pulp or vinegar or brown sugar
  8. add the chopped pepper to the sauce, if using, and simmer till peppers are softened
  9. in a small bowl, dissolve the corn starch in enough water to form a thin paste, no lumps; add the corn starch paste to the simmering sauce and stir to thicken the sauce; (add a little at a time and stir constantly to make sure sauce consistency is not too thick)
  10. add the fried cauliflower (and fried chilies, if using them) to the simmering sauce and stir gently till well incorporated
  11. Off heat, garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced green chilies; serve warm with cooked jasmine rice

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