Healthier Roasted Gobi Manchurian (Cauliflower in a Spicy Sauce)

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Healthier Roasted Gobi Manchurian

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably already know that I love Indian flavors.

I’ve shared recipes for classics like Dal Makhani (Indian Butter Lentils) and Lamb Tikka Masala, and I’ve also shared a few dishes remade with Indian twists, like Bloomin’ Indian-Spiced Whole Roasted Cauliflower, Indian-Spiced Roasted Potatoes, and Indian-Spiced Cream of Tomato Soup with Whole Wheat Couscous.

Today I’m sharing my version of Gobi Manchurian, an Indo-Chinese fusion of battered, fried cauliflower florets in a spicy, sticky sauce that’s commonly eaten in India. I first had it when I was in undergrad school when eating a homemade Indian feast at my friend’s house. Her mom was an amazing cook and although she served many dishes that night, I still remember my first bite of Gobi Manchurian.

This dish isn’t something I’ve ever seen on a menu at an Indian (or even a Chinese!) restaurant, so every time I get a craving I have to make it at home. But that means I get to customize it to suit my tastes and even healthify it.

Healthier Roasted Gobi Manchurian 2

Instead of frying the fritters, I batter and roast them (like Cauliflower Buffalo Wings, which, it bears noting, are pretty fabulous too). As a total bonus that’s unrelated to the fact that this dish is a healthier without the added fat from frying, you won’t have to sweat over a hot stove while your house fills with the smell of grease; if there’s anything that deters me from deep frying it’s those two things!

This cooking method is nice and easy; all the cauliflower roasts in one batch in the oven, and the flavorful sauce comes together while the cauliflower roasts. The sauce is a little piquant, definitely a nice melding of Indian and Chinese flavors. Feel free to adjust the heat level by adding more or less hot sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, and hot chili powder.

This dish is an addictive little appetizer, especially paired with a sparkling citrus-flavored iced drink to cut through the spice (of course, shoving fresh bread in your mouth helps to squelch the fire too). I’m weak when it comes to hot food, so this probably won’t be spicy hot for most of you. Even though the spice level builds up as you eat more, I found it hard to stop! The burning lips were well worth it.

Healthier Roasted Gobi Manchurian 3

Healthier Roasted Gobi Manchurian (Cauliflower in a Spicy Sauce)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or cooking spray)
  • 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (32 g) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala spice mix
  • ¼ teaspoon hot chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed in a mortar and pestle or grated on a microplane
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¾ cup (170 ml) water, or slightly more as necessary
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets (about 2 to 3 cups of florets)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala spice mix
  • ¼ teaspoon hot chili powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ cup (170 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (or light olive oil)
  • 1 small-medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced (or grated)
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (or grated)
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1½ tablespoons water to form a slurry
  • 2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced (for garnish)
  1. For the cauliflower, preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and drizzle on 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (or spray the sheet with cooking spray).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, black pepper, garam masala spice mix, hot chili powder, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and water (adding enough water so the batter comes together, but isn’t too thin).
  3. Add the cauliflower to the batter and toss around to coat each piece.
  4. Pick up a piece of cauliflower, drain off the excess batter, and place it on the prepared baking sheet; continue lining up the cauliflower this way until finished.
  5. Bake until the cauliflower is tender inside and golden outside, about 30 minutes, rotating the tray once.
  6. Meanwhile, make the sauce. To do so, in a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, tomato paste, coconut palm sugar, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, turmeric, garam masala spice mix, hot chili powder, black pepper, and water. Set the spicy sauce mix aside for now.
  7. Heat the oil over medium heat; once hot, add the onion and cook until softened, but not yet browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
  8. Add the spicy sauce mix and bring to a boil, then whisk in the cornstarch slurry and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, then carefully taste (the temperature will be hot!) and add salt as desired.
  9. In a large bowl, toss the hot cauliflower with the sauce to coat.
  10. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the scallion; serve.

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  1. Zoe says

    My favorite restaurant is an indo-chine restaurant and they made a paneer manchurian with cilantro that is mindblowing. I made this tonight skipping the scallions for cilantro and it was amazing. Surprisingly easy too. Thanks!

  2. says

    Ohhhh, looks delish…. But I’m not really a fan of fried vegies, so prob wouldn’t eat this, but I love learning interesting recipes like this one to cook for my fam and friends. :)

  3. Karen Sullivan says

    This gobi manchurian dish served with fresh snow peas was a wonderful meal. The prep is well worth the time. I am trying to figure out a way to mix the dry ingredients in a larger quanity so I am ready to make it more often. Delicious.


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