Vegetable Manchurian

Vegetable Manchurian (Gobi Manchurian)

Vegetable Manchurian (or Gobi Manchurian) is an amazing Indian Chinese classic that combines the two cuisines to create an incredibly tasty dish. Easy and cheap to make, this vegetarian dish feels just like takeout! Nuggets of cauliflower are deep fried in a spiced batter and then tossed with an incredible sweet and sour sauce – doesn’t that sound amazing? Read on to learn more about this incredible fusion dish how you can make it at home.

gobi Manchurian

An Indo-Chinese Classic

Originating from the street kitchens of Mumbai, Gobi (meaning cauliflower) Manchurian is an Indo-Chinese classic. There are a lot of variations of this dish including mushroom, chicken (one of my favourites) and paneer.

Cauliflower pieces are first blanched, then placed in an Indian spiced batter and deep fried until crispy. These crispy nuggets are then mixed with stir fried vegetables and tossed in a distinctly Chinese sauce thickened with cornstarch.

The dish was invented by Indian restauranteur (of Chinese descent), Nelson Wang in 1975. Nelson was a chef at the Mumbai Cricket Club where a customer asked for something different to what was on the menu at the time. He then used a traditionally Indian base of garlic & chilli but instead of adding spices, Nelson added soy sauce and cornstarch to create a thick sauce. Voila, that’s how the Manchurian dish came to be.

Love Chinese takeaway dishes? Check out our Char Siu Chow Mein recipe!

What You’ll Need

To make Vegetable Manchurian, you’ll need ingredients for the 3 components of the dish; fried cauliflower, sauce and the stir fry. In this section I’ll dive into each component and what ingredient you’ll need.

Fried Vegetables

vegetable Manchurian cauliflower

Cauliflower: You’ll want a whole cauliflower for this and you’ll need to break it down into 1 inch segments although it doesn’t matter too much if they’re smaller. It’s important to ensure that they’re all a similar size so they cook evenly.

Other Variations: Cauliflower can be swapped out for mushrooms, baby corn, paneer or firm tofu. If you want a meat version, marinated Chicken Manchurian is awesome.

Ingredients for the Batter

Flours & Starch: All-purpose or plain flour is the base flour for the batter. Cornstarch is added to help make the batter even crispier.

Spices: I use a mix of Garam Masala and Kashmiri chilli powder to add some extra flavour and heat! You can replace the Kashmiri chilli powder with cayenne pepper if you can’t get your hands on it.

Water: Water is added to create a wet batter. You want it quite thick to ensure all parts of the cauliflower are incase in batter when it fries!

Stir Fried Ingredients

stir fry ingredients

Bell Peppers: You can use any bell peppers that you’d like. I like to use red and green for colour but feel free to use what ever you have on hand.

Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are finely minced with a knife but you can use a pestle and mortar or food processor. Avoid using pre-peeled or garlic paste – the flavours are really not as good!

Chilli: I like to use a mix of fresh green and red chillis. You can use any variety and quantity that you like – just adjust to your taste.

Red Onion: Optional but I like to use roughly chopped red onion for sweetness and some crunch. You can omit or use white onion or even the white ends of scallions.

Scallions/Spring Onions: Scallions (or spring onions in the UK) are used mainly for garnish. I like to finely slice the green ends but you can also use the white ends in the stir fry.

The Sauce

sauce ingredients

Ketchup: Ketchup is pretty standard ingredient in modern Chinese cooking and it works perfectly in the sauce. I use Heinz but you can use any brand that you like. You can replace ketchup with a teaspoon of tomato purée mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and 1 tsp of extra sugar.

Soy Sauce: Chinese light soy sauce is used for seasoning and colour. Avoid using dark soy. You can use Maggi seasoning or Japanese soy sauce in place if you can’t get Chinese light soy.

Oyster Sauce: Optional but I like the extra umami and flavour. You can omit if you want to keep this meal vegetarian.

Vinegar: Chinese black vinegar is preferred for this but you can use rice vinegar or cider vinegar as an alternative.

Sugar: Any form of sugar will work for this recipe. Ideally use brown sugar but white granulated is fine too!

Optional: If you want more sauce, or gravy, for the dish then use 50ml of chicken stock or water and add more cornstarch to thicken.


Makes enough for 4 people.

Cauliflower & Batter

  • 1 whole head of Cauliflower, broken down into 1 inch florets/segments
  • 150g all-purpose plain flour
  • 65g cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp MSG (optional)
  • 215ml water
  • Oil, for frying


  • 3 tbsp Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp Chinese light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Black Vinegar
  • Cornstarch slurry, to thicken (1 tbsp cornflour with a splash of water mixed together)


  • 2 bell peppers (preferably red and green), chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, core removed, cut into 1 inch segments
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 fresh chilli, finely sliced
  • 4 scallions/spring onions, green parts only, finely sliced

How to Make Cauliflower Manchurian

  1. Firstly prepare your batter by whisking the ingredients together until a smooth, relatively thick batter forms.

  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the cauliflower segments. Cook for 2-3 minutes and place into a bowl of cold water. Remove the cauliflower segments and reserve until you’re ready to fry.

  3. Heat up a pot of oil/deep fryer to 180c/350f.

  4. When ready to fry, tip your cauliflower segments into the batter and then place carefully into the hot oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the batter is nice and crispy. You may need to do this in batches depending on how big your fryer is.

  5. For the stir fry, heat up a wok or frying pan on a high heat until smoking and add 2 tbsp of oil. Quickly add your onion and bell pepper segments and cook for 30 seconds – you want them slightly blistered. Add your garlic and chilli and toss/stir constantly for 10 seconds or until fragrant.

  6. Immediately add the sauce ingredients and cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil whilst stirring constantly – you should have a thick sauce.

  7. Add your fried cauliflower pieces and toss so they’re coated in sauce. Garnish with scallion greens and coriander and serve with steamed rice.
vegetable Manchurian cauliflower
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Guide to Saint-Germain-des-Prés Area of Paris
saint germain des prés paris

Guide to Saint-Germain-des-Prés Area of Paris

The Saint Germain des Prés area is one of the most beautiful areas of Paris and

Guide to the Best Restaurants 2nd Arrondissement in Paris
best restaurants 2nd arrondissement Paris

Guide to the Best Restaurants 2nd Arrondissement in Paris

Looking for the best restaurants in the 2nd arrondissement in Paris?

You May Also Like