According to Wikipedia, during the British rule of India a small Chinese community in Kolkata developed this dish, adapting Chinese cooking to suit Indian tastes. The result is this awesome dish that is a fusion of Chinese techniques with the robust flavours of Indian spices. However, despite its name, it has no relation to Manchu, Mongolian or northeastern Chinese cuisine.
This is one of my favourite dishes that I’ll usually order at an Indian restaurant even though it is amazingly easy to prepare at home. And the best excuse to get this dish is it is vegetarian and the combination of sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours in this dish makes eating vegetables such a happy experience.
The shooting of this dish on video was also an unforgettable experience for all of us at the kitchen studio. Do watch the video for that flash in the pan, when the oil ignited as I added in the scallions. The resultant wok-hei really gave an authentic Chinese flavour to this Indian dish.
We released a blooper reel of what happened that day on TheStarTV.com’s and Kuali.com’s Facebook and Instagram. Not visible, but there was a shot of me cooking the dish when Patrick, our videographer, tilted the camera away to save it from the rising flames. You could see me appearing calm, but my heart was racing the entire time!
All in a day’s work – Happy Cooking!
- 300g cauliflower
- 500ml cooking oil
- Fritter Batter:
- 8 tbs all-purpose flour
- 4 tbs tapioca flour or cornstarch
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup water
- Manchurian Sauce:
- 2 tbs cooking oil
- 4 sprigs scallions, dice and separate whites from greens
- 1 inch ginger, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red chilli, minced
- 1 green chilli, minced
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbs tomato ketchup
- 2 tbs chilli sauce
- 2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 50ml cold water
- Cut cauliflower into florets.
- Blanche cauliflower in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain cauliflower and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. Pat dry in towel and spread out to air dry.
- In a dry bowl stir together flour, tapioca flour, chilli powder, pepper and salt. Add enough water to make a medium thick batter. Add cauliflower and coat completely.
- Heat 500ml oil in pan, deep fry battered cauliflower in batches for even browning. When fritters turn light golden and crispy, remove from pan and drain off excess oil.
- Heat 2 tbs oil in wok. Add whites of scallions, ginger, garlic, and red and green chillies to saute about a minute. Then add vinegar, tomato ketchup, chilli sauce, chilli powder, soy sauce, sugar and pepper and stir together. Finally, add scallion greens and 50ml water, and bring to a boil.
- Add the cauliflower fritters and coat with gravy. Serve immediately.