Photos by Emily Caruso
Believe it or not, some of my favorite foods on the planet have never graced my own kitchen. Sad but true, especially given the fact that I love to cook and blog about it. Deep-fried foods, in particular, I seem to have categorized as “off-limits.” Somehow or another, “off limits” doesn’t apply when I’m eating at a restaurant, though. I guess this is because I think of restaurant nights as special occasions, but that’s silly, because I love to cook! Special occasions have every right to come from my own kitchen, even if I can’t get over the whole frying thing. All of this is especially true when it comes to Indian food, and I love me some Indian food…especially the fried stuff. The fried stuff doesn’t always need to be fried though; I can totally improvise (as demonstrated by Exhibit A).
Cauliflower Manchurian, or gobi Manchurian, as it will often appear on restaurant menus, is actually an Indian-Chinese fusion dish, and it’s one of those special-occasion restaurant items that I love to order out but never even considered making at home. This stuff is seriously fried, even sometimes double fried (gasp!). If you’ve ever roasted up some cauliflower though, you probably realize that double deep frying is totally unnecessary. Roasting gives cauliflower amazing texture and flavor; you’ll never miss the greasy fried coating.
But just in case you do miss it, I’ve covered that too, taking a cue from this Firecracker Cauliflower recipe. I created a vegan version by omitting the eggs and using panko breadcrumbs. The result is a bunch of tasty little chunks of cauliflower goodness covered in a crispy (and virtually greaseless!) baked-on shell. Oh, and let’s not forget the Manchurian gravy, which is just a bit sweet, a bit salty, as spicy as you want, and loaded with delicious flavors representing the best of Chinese and Indian food.
For the Baked Cauliflower:
For the Manchurian Gravy:
Make the Baked Cauliflower:
Make the Manchurian Gravy:
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