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Manchurian-style Cauliflower (Lahsuni Gobi)
From Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness
(Clarkson Potter; 2004)
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings (as appetizer or side dish)

This recipe is part of a pantheon of Sino-Indian fusion dishes created by Chinese immigrants who now live in India. According to Suvir, it's closely associated with the Chinatown in Calcutta, where it's sold on the street, to be eaten off toothpicks.


  • Neutral oil, like corn or canola, for frying
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt for the batter, plus additional to season the sauce
  • 1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower, trimmed and separated into florets
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

Put at least 2 inches of oil in a countertop deep fryer or in a deep pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium-high; bring to 350?F (you can check this with a deep-fry or instant-read thermometer; or, a pinch of flour will sizzle but not burn when added).
In a bowl large enough to accommodate the cauliflower, beat the eggs and cornstarch together until well blended. Season the batter with salt and pepper, then add the cauliflower. Use your hands to toss until the florets are evenly coated.
Fry the cauliflower in batches small enough not to crowd your pan or fryer and make sure to let the oil return to temperature (350?F) between batches. Fry until the florets take on a pale, sandy color, with a little brown mottling; transfer to paper towels to drain.

To make the sauce, warm a tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick pan or wok over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant but not colored. Add the ketchup and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce bubbles, thickens, and starts to caramelize around the edges of the pan. Add the cayenne; taste and add salt as necessary. Toss the cauliflower in the sauce until evenly coated and serve.

On Ketchup and India: As a matter of course, Indians serve hot or sweet or sour (or sometimes hot, sweet and sour) chutneys, made from all kinds of fruit and vegetables, with many meals. Interestingly enough, ketchup is as familiar and common in India today as it is in the States. Many people eat it instead of or with traditional chutney - so much so that Suvir grew up eating samosas with ketchup.

   Published: September 2005