Spicy, deep-fried cauliflower with garlicky vegetables, brown rice and Greek yoghurt – or Gobi Manchurian as it is also known. One of my favourite dishes, a glorious harmony of Indian and Chinese cuisines, born of Chinese immigration into India.
It is spicy, salty, sour and a tiny bit sweet, intensely flavoured with a coating of garlic, chilli and ginger. That should blow the cobwebs away.
Spicy Indo-Chinese cauliflower
Spicy, deep-fried battered cauliflower with garlicky vegetables, brown rice and Greek yoghurt.
perfect brown rice
- 250g/1 ½ cups brown basmati rice
- drizzle oil
- 1 tso flaky sea salt
- 25 g cold butter
deep-fried battered cauliflower
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 1 litre frying oil
- 5 heaped tbsp chickpea flour
- 5 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 5 heaped tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
spicy Indo-Chinese vegetables
- 2 red onions
- 2 red peppers
- 1-2 tbsp oil (I used cold-pressed rapeseed)
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- thumb ginger finely grated (no need to peel)
- 4 hot green chillies finely chopped
- 4 tbsp soy sauce (or to taste – this will be seasoning the cauliflower as well)
- 4 tbsp ed chilli sauce (like sriracha)
- 2 tbsp vinegar (I used raw apple cider)
- 2 tsp unrefined sugar
- lots freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 spring onions cut into thin rounds
- 500 g Greek yoghurt (substitute with coconut yoghurt for vegan)
- fresh coriander, roughly chopped (including stalks)
for the rice
Preheat the oven to 200℃. Pour the rice into a large baking dish and add 550ml boiling water. Drizzle over the oil and sprinkle over the salt. Wrap tightly in tin foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven, uncover and fluff with a fork. Cut the butter into small cubes and dot over. Stir the butter through, cover with a clean tea towel and rest for 5-10 minutes.
for the cauliflower
While the rice is cooking, prepare the cauliflower. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Cut the cauliflower into small, neat florets (I like to think of this as a challenge rather than a chore) and cook for 3 minutes, until just tender, but still firm.
Add the flours and spices to a large bowl and whisk in enough water to make a batter the consistency of double cream. The thicker the batter, the softer it will be after frying, so bear that in mind if you want to adjust the consistency.
Bring a large pan of oil to 180℃ (careful! hot oil should be treated with the greatest of respect). Drain any excess batter off each floret and add carefully to the hot oil. Don't crowd the pan – you'll have to work in about 3 batches. Fry for a few minutes, until crispy and lightly browned, then drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven.
for the vegetables
Trim the vegetables and cut into large squares (5-6cm), set aside. Heat a large, heavy pan until hot and add the oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Add the onions and peppers, stir well to combine everything and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the rest of the seasonings and a few tbsp water and stir everything well to combine.
When the cauliflower is ready, toss with the spicy vegetables. Sprinkle over the spring onions and serve.
Pile rice and spicy cauliflower, dollop on the creamy, cooling Greek yoghurt and sprinkle with fresh herbs.