Gobi Manchoorian/ Manchoori is an Indo Chinese food which is quite popular in India. It is said to have been developed by the tiny Chinese community that lived in Kolkata for over a century. It is nothing but fried cauliflower tossed in a sweet and chili sauce. There are two different variants of it, dry and gravy. If I were frying I would use all purpose flour and cornstarch to make a thin batter; dip the florets in the batter and then deep fry. Once that is done follow the below mentioned sauce recipe. Few recipes even call for Ajinomoto (MSG) to increase the taste however I try to avoid it due to health reasons. Some add food colors to give the florets a bright red color, which is quite common in restaurants. I avoid that as well.
In the past I have baked the same dish using different flours – chickpea,all purpose and even whole wheat flour. The problem was it wasn’t as crispy as I had expected it to be also there would a thin layer of batter stuck in the base of the florets. This used to put me off. That’s when dusting cornstarch came to my mind. I actually used about 3-3.5 tablespoon of cornstarch. The cauliflower florets baked beautifully, ending with a crispy texture. But the only thing was I could feel the cornstarch even after baking ( I realized I added a lot).The next time I would work with 1.5-2 tablespoons only. I know fried ones are the best but I wanted to try something that I could enjoy whole heartedly without worrying about calories. Making junk food healthy is a very smart idea .
To me these tasted great, not as crispy as the fried ones but slightly close to it. Once they are coated in the sauce, I don’t see much of a difference. A good sauce is the key! If you plan to use them just as plain fritters, do season them with salt, pepper, cayenne and some turmeric (for the color) before baking. Also broil it for about 2-3 minutes towards the end to make it more crispier.
If you are thinking of gravy please add some water mixed with very little cornstarch towards the end and then a quick boil will result in a semi gravy Manchoorian sauce. Serve as an appetizer or along with fried rice/noodles. Spring onions are a great choice too, if you have some handy do add it right at the end.
Enjoy guilt free!