Posted by BigCommerce on Feb 18th 2023

Gigi makes Gobi Manchurian

FEB 18, 2023

Gigi Makes Gobi Manchurian

I was so enchanted by a recent visit to Philadelphia’s fabulous Amma’s South Indian Cuisine, that I decided to spend a week trying out different recipes to recreate their Gobi Manchurian. Here's what I learned.

Note on beginning:

This is more of an appetizer or pairing dish. We decided to go with a Saag Paneer recipe we love. This Gobi Manchurian recipe is an adaptation of Swasthi's Recipes version of the dish. Swasthi's Recipes is a wonderful resource for home cooks and one that we return to over and over. A few of the key distinctions and why I departed from Swasthi's wisdom:

I opted to use gram (chickpea) flour, a tradition in Pakoras (more on those later), to create a GF option. Gram flour also adds a pleasant weight and flavor to the dish which pairs really nicely with the thick sauce. Many recipes use Rice flour as well. To add a little thickness, sweetness, and pungeancy I added Oyster sauce (Kikoman makes an excellent GF option). Rather than fine chopped peppers, I opted for coarse cut; I think they add a nice crunch to the dish rather than disolving into the saue (this was part of what we loved at Amma's!). Lastly, a dash of Cayenne compliments the spice profile nicely.

What is Gobi Manchurian?

Gobi (cauliflower) is a staple of our weeknight rotations. We fry it, roast it, steam it, mash it, puree it, and on occasion we even pretend that it is a buffalo chicken wing. Cauliflower is such a generous ingredient that it can reimagine and reinvent itself with ease.

So, what is Gobi Manchurian? Well, Manchurian is a bit of a misnomer. Manchuria, a region of northeast China bordering Russia and North Korea, is home to a vibrant cuisine that scarcely resembles the Manchurian styled dishes found across India. The story of this fusion, popularly called Indian-Chinese, is vividly described by Mumbai based food writer Kunal Vijayakar in his article “What the Fork: who Invented Chicken Manchurian”. In brief, Hakka Chinese immigrants began a fusion in Kolkata in the 1700’s that a Kolkata-Chinese chef, Nelson Wang, popularized in Mumbai in the 1970’s. Chicken Manchurian was invented by Wang and the core ingredients and style of the dish have been extended to a variety of base ingredients including, and deliciously, cauliflower. The recipe begins with the hallmarks of Pakora, a popular street-food fritter usually made using chickpea flour, and ends with a delicious sauce that blends Indian and Chinese pantry staples.


For the Cauliflower:

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 cup gram flour (chickpea)
    • Substitutes:¾ cup all purpose flour and ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cayenne chili powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½-1 cup of water

*to make the recipe GF, make sure your oyster sauce is GF and opt for tamari instead of light soy*

*To make this recipe vegan, omit the oyster sauce or use a mushroom variety.*


For the Sauce:

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • an inch of ginger
  • An Indian Green Chili (if you want spice)
    • Thai green chilis are a workable substitute
  • ½ red onion, rough chopped
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, rough chopped
  • 1/4 red bell pepper rough chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons red chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • A dash of salt
  • A dash of pepper
  • About a quarter cup of water, adjust for desired consistency
  • A teaspoon of sugar



  1. Blanch cauliflower:
    1. Set aside a bowl of ice water. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cut cauliflower into individual florets. Briefly (30 seconds) submerge cauliflower before transferring to ice water and, ultimately, a towel to dry.
    2. The longer the cauliflower rests here the better as excess moisture will frustrate the frying process.
  2. Fry Cauliflower
    1. Heat oil to 365 degrees (depending on your burners under medium to start, but high to maintain). Not using an oil thermometer? It’s time to start; frying well means frying with a thermometer.
    2. Prepare batter: mix flour(s), chili powder(s), salt, pepper, and add water until consistency is like pancake batter.
    3. Fry cauliflower in batches: Dip cauliflower in batter, leaving excess batter on, and add them to the hot oil. Do not overcrowd.
    4. Transfer to a wire rack to drain and cool.
  3. Prepare sauce:
    1. Heat a skillet over medium heat with a hearty splash of oil.
    2. Add roughly chopped onion and bell pepper.
    3. After 2-3 minutes, add ginger, garlic, and chili (each chopped fine)
    4. Cook until fragrant.
    5. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Stir until reduced and thick.
    6. Viola! Add your cauliflower and yum, you’re done!


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