Indian-Chinese Sweet and Spicy Fried Cauliflower

See the RecipeAndré Baranowski

(Gobi Manchurian)

To make a spicier sauce for this dish, use Maggi brand chili sauce in lieu of ketchup.

Indian-Chinese Sweet and Spicy Fried Cauliflower
This dish is a spicy trip through India by way of China.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 4 (2") pieces peeled fresh ginger (3 cut into thin coins, 1 julienned)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • Kosher salt
  • 23 cup cornstarch
  • 23 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. red chile powder
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp. plus 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 8-10 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 12 cup ketchup
  • 1 12 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro leaves

Instructions

  1. Purée garlic, ginger coins, and 1⁄3 cup water in blender; set aside. Boil cauliflower in a pot of salted water until tender, 6–7 minutes; drain.
  2. Whisk together cornstarch, flour, chile powder, 1⁄2 tsp. salt, and 1⁄4 tsp. pepper in a bowl. Stir in half the garlic paste, 2 tsp. soy sauce, and 3⁄4 cup water to make a batter. Pour oil into a large deep skillet to a depth of 1"; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, dip cauliflower in batter; fry until golden, 5–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Drain all but about 6 tbsp. of the oil. Add onions; cook for 3–4 minutes. Add chiles and remaining garlic paste; cook until paste is lightly browned, 3–4 minutes. Add ketchup, remaining soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1⁄3 cup water. Boil; lower heat to medium-low; simmer until thick, 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; toss cauliflower in sauce. Garnish with remaining ginger, scallions, and cilantro. Serve with white rice, if you like.