Whether you call it Gobi manjoori or gopi manjurien, this is one dish that you'll be hard put to find in an authentic Chinese restaurant. In fact, I clearly remember the patronizing look that a waiter gave me at one of the popular Chinese restaurants here when I asked if they had this dish. He then went on to tell me that they only serve "authentic" Chinese food.
So, how did this Indo-Chinese fusion food that is unique to India originate? A google search yields several viewpoints on how this dish came into being. One site, though, hits the nail on the head when it says that this is one dish that is not South Indian, not North Indian and most certainly not Chinese. Be that as it may, there is no doubt about the popularity of this dish.
I usually follow Meena's recipe that I've talked about in this post, but when I saw a different way of making it in a recent TV show, I just had to try it out.
What you need:
Cauliflower - cut into small florets, 1 cup
Cabbage - 1/2 cup, shredded into long pieces
Onion - 1, chopped
Ginger - a small piece
Garlic - 4-5 cloves
Green chilli - 2 (adjust to taste)
Spring onions - a few, chopped (chop the leaves as well)
All purpose flour - 3/4 cup (I may have used a little more 'coz I just kept adding flour until I felt the consistency was right. So use your judgement)
Rice flour - 1/2 cup
Soya sauce - 3 tbsp (use more if the batter is too dry)
Red chilli sauce - to taste
Oil - for deep frying
Grind the ginger, garlic and chillies into a smooth paste.
Take the cabbage, cauliflower, spring onions and onions in a large, wide mouthed bowl. Add the ground paste to this. Add salt and let it rest for a few minutes. Now add the sauces and mix well. Add the flours little by little, mixing well until the flour is just moistened. The dough should not be very smooth like chapati dough.....it should be more like the batter that you make for pakodas. You will not need to add any water as the salted vegetables would have released some water and the sauces will also help to bind the flour. Keep this covered until you are ready to make manchurian.
Remember, the longer you let the mixture stand, the more pronounced the flavours will be and the tastier the manchurian. However, if you live in a very hot place, let it stand for an hour or two and then if needed, refrigerate until you are ready to make it.
To make manchurian:
Heat oil in a kadai. Take small portions of the batter and deep fry it in oil until well browned on both sides.
Garnish with spring onion leaves before serving.
It is very important that the flour should only just be well moistened.....it should not be watery. The vegetables will give out water while the batter rests and this will make it just the right consistency before frying.
While deep frying, keep the flame low so that both the inside and outside are evenly cooked.
This mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days.