If you have ever stopped yourself from making a Manchurian b’cos it entailed deep-frying the manjoos (‘Gopi Manchuri’, or ‘manjoorian’, or just plain ‘manchuri’ is what you’d hear it being said as, coming from the local ‘Gopis’ and ‘Manjus’ owning and selling ‘China-in-a-cart’ kinda food on the pavements!! If you’d like a more intent description of how these guys sell, you should totally read this), this no-fuss, no-fry, quick-fix, yet delicious recipe should have you running into your kitchen to fix it to go along with your dinner tonight. Throw in some Fried rice like this one, or some simple veg hakka noodles, and you have one of the best ‘made-in-heaven’ marriages in a gourmet’s perfect world. Now, now, I know you’re conjuring in your pretty head, images of a foodies’ heaven, with a multitude of tables, laden and shrieking from the weight of all the good food you are capable of conjuring at such short notice as well, but but but…let’s come back to where you’re seated now shall we? Yes, right there, stay rooted! You will thank me later on, cos if you’re making this for dinner tonight, you cannot afford to get distracted from the recipe, could you? ;) Read on, while I conjure up images of you seated at your dinner table later tonight, polishing off every morsel of the manjoo!
- Cauliflower – 1 no (medium-sized; cut into florets and soaked in hot salt water)
- Ginger – 1″ long piece; finely chopped/minced
- Garlic – 10-12 pods; finely chopped/minced
- Spring Onion Shoots – 10-15 nos (chopped to 1/2″ pieces)
- Soy-sauce – 1 tbsp
- Tomato ketchup – 1 tbsp
- Red pepper sauce (optional) – 1-2 tbsps (as per your taste)
- Hot Water – 1 1/2 cups (omit if making a dry, crispy version)
- Salt – to taste
- Oil – 2-3 tbsps for shallow-frying the florets + 1-2 tbsps for the manchurian
For the coating:
- Maida/All-purpose flour – 5-6 tbsps
- Cornstarch powder – 3-4 tbsps
- Soy-sauce – 2-3 tsps
- Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp (alter to suit your taste)
- Salt – to taste
- Drain the water from the cauliflower florets, and transfer to a clean, dry bowl.
- Add all the ingredients mentioned for the coating – maida, cornstarch powder, soy sauce, red chilli powder, salt to taste, and toss the bowl so all the cauliflower florets are well-coated. Set aside for about 10 minutes to allow the florets to absorb some of that wonderful flavour. Since the florets are damp, the coating ingredients will stick on well, and easily.
- In a non-stick wok, heat the oil.
- Shallow-fry the marinated cauliflower florets till they turn golden brown on the edges and tips.
- Transfer to a clean plate covered with a tissue to absorb any excess oil.
- In the wok, heat some more oil.
- Add the finely chopped ginger and garlic. Saute for half a minute.
- Throw in the cauliflower florets and spring onions, and fry for a minute.
- Lower the flame and add the tomato ketchup, soya sauce, red pepper sauce, more salt to taste (if required).
- Immediately pour in the hot water, and cook this gravy over a low flame for about 3-4 minutes. The cornstarch powder that you added to the florets initially helps thicken the gravy, so your gravy doesn’t really need any other agent to thicken up.
- Bring the gravy to a boil on a low flame, about 3-5 minutes at the most.
- Lastly, add the soya sauce and allow to boil another minute on a low flame, before you remove from flame.
- Serve hot with noodles or rice. I served mine with vegetable hakka noodles, and like I said earlier, it was a marriage made in heaven! Will definitely be posting the veg hakka noodles soon, so watch this space.
The flavours and taste of this no-fry Manchurian are just the same as what it would be if you deep-fried your florets. So don’t you worry about the taste, even one bit. A dry street-food kind of ‘manjoooorian’ could also be made; whatever you fancy. If you wish to make a dry variant, just skip the hot water mentioned for the gravy, and you’re good! And If you wish to make the conventional manchurian, follow the procedure from here. Just replace the baby-corn with choice of vegetable. I’ll take a bet you’ll enjoy it either way you make it – dry or with gravy. Think of me when you’re gorging on your din-din tonight. And don’t forget to send a prayer for those Gopis and Manjus dishing up all that scrummy street-food either. Ask me why…they are thriving b’cos of foodies like you and me, and if we start making street-food right at home, what happens to them when you are giving them a run for their money? So like I said, PRAY. For them.