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
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.