You're going to love this Baked Gobi Manchurian recipe! This battered and baked cauliflower coated with tasty Indian spices.
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).
What is Gobi Manchurian?
Gobi Manchurian, or cauliflower Manchurian as it will sometimes 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, and 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.
If you're on your way to a more plant based lifestyle, be sure to check out our Veggie Kickstart Kit. It's packed with easy and tasty vegetarian dinners, effortless packable lunches, and easy grab-and-go breakfasts. And they’re so good - you’ll never miss the meat again!
How to Make Baked Gobi Manchurian?
- Mix batter together.
- Preheat oven and prep baking sheet.
- Stir together breadcrumbs and spices.
- Dip cauliflower into batter, then breadcrumbs, and place on baking sheet.
- Bake cauliflower until fork tender and lightly browned.
- While baking, mix up the sauce on the stove.
- Divide baked cauliflower onto plates and serve with sauce.
Full directions for how to make Baked Gobi Manchurian are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Baked Gobi Manchurian FAQs
What should I serve with cauliflower Manchurian?
You can serve Gobi Manchurian as a main dish with sides or as a tasty side for another Indian main dish. It tastes great served with rice, naan bread, or plain!
Can I adjust the spiciness of my cauliflower Manchurian?
You can easily adjust the spice level of your Gobi Manchurian to suit your preference. Simply adjust the amount of spice you add to the breadcrumb mixture for the cauliflower.
And as for the sauce, you can add more sriracha and Serrano pepper for a hotter dish. To make the sauce less spicy, just sub the chili paste for a bit more tomato paste.
What is this dish called "Manchurian?"
Manchurian refers to something coming from the region of Manchuria in northeastern China. So why is Gobi Manchurian an Indian dish, you ask? Well, the dish became popular in highly vegan India when the classic meat was replaced with cauliflower.
More Chinese and Indian Dishes
- Chinese Hot-and-Sour Mushroom Soup from The Chile Pepper Bible
- Indian Butter Chickpeas
- General Tso Tofu
- Aloo Gobi (Indian-Spiced Potatoes and Cauliflower)
- Indian-Inspired Lentil & Eggplant Curry
While you're here, be sure to grab our FREE 5-Day Meatless Meal Plan. It's packed with tasty recipes to make vegetarian cooking easy and delicious!
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil or another neutral flavored vegetable oil
- 4 scallions white and green parts separated and finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp ginger fresh grated
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 1 serrano pepper seeded and minced (optional)
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1-2 tsp Asian chili paste or sriracha sauce
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup chilled water
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Stir flour and ground flax seeds together in medium bowl. Whisk in milk and soy sauce. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, adding a little more milk if it seems too thick to evenly coat cauliflower.
- Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Stir panko breadcrumbs, black pepper, and cayenne together in medium bowl.
- Dip each cauliflower floret into flour-milk batter and roll to coat, shaking off any excess batter. Transfer to panko breadcrumb mixture and gently roll to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray with oil using a mister or cooking spray.
- Bake until fork-tender and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.
- While cauliflower bakes, place oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add white parts of scallions, garlic, ginger, celery and serrano pepper. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, soy sauce, tomato paste, agave or maple syrup, rice vinegar, chili paste and black pepper. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir chilled water and cornstarch together in small bowl. Add to gravy mixture and stir to incorporate. Allow to simmer for about another minute, just until mixture thickens. Stir in scallion greens and cilantro.
- Divide cauliflower onto plates or bowls and top with gravy. Serve immediately.
Photos by Emily Caruso