Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
For the Sauce
- 2 Kashmiri dry chillies (these give a beautiful color and good amount of heat but use any mild or hot chill variety you like)
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1.5 tsp cornstarch +3 tbsp cold water
- 4 tbsp canola oil (or vegetable or grapeseed oil)
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1-2 Thai bird chillies, finely chopped (adjust quantity of taste, de seed if you like less hot)
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onions
- 2-3 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce (I use Ching’s brand)
- 2 tsp tomato chili sauce (I use Maggi Hot & sweet,see notes)
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil ((optional, this is a really strong flavoring, do not use if you haven’t tasted it before,skip or substitute with untoasted sesame oil for a mellow taste))
- salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
- 1/4 tsp honey (use agave for vegan to taste, see notes)
- 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar (or to taste, see notes)
- Chopped Cilantro, chopped fresh ginger, chopped green chillies for garnish
For Deep Frying
- 1 medium cauliflower
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 serrano chilli, finely chopped (de seed if you like less hot)
- 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce (I use Ching’s brand)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 -1/3 cup water (or as required to make the batter)
- Canola Oil for frying (or vegetable oil)
Making the Sauce
Soak the red chillies in warm water for 5-7 minutes. Using your mortar and pestle, make a smooth paste of the soaked chillies and garlic using with 1-2 tbsp of soaking water. You can de seed the chillies if you like less hot. Set aside.
Mix cornstarch with cold water. Set aside
In a wok/wide mouthed pan,heat up the oil to smoking hot. Add chopped garlic & ginger,green chillies and cook for 1 minute or till you smell the aroma. Do not let burn. Next add the onions & scallion.Cook for 2-3 minutes or till light brown in color. Add the chilli-garlic paste that we made earlier and saute till the raw smell is gone, about a minute or so. At any point you feel that the mix is drying or sticking to bottom of the pan, add a splash of water. Add soy sauce next along with tomato chill sauce and sesame oil. Saute for 1-2 minutes.Next, add the cornstarch mix to the wok. Reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer for another 2-4 minutes till the sauce thickens to desired consistency.
Next, taste & adjust the salt. Sprinkle the garam masala, add honey & vinegar and stir everything well. (If you want a thinner sauce add some water right now).Let simmer for another 1 minutes. Put off the heat and let sit while you fry up the cauliflower (recipe below).
Deep Frying the Cauliflower
Cut the cauliflower florets into halves.Do not cut very small else the florets will turn mushy while frying and not hold up in the sauce. Wash thoroughly under running water & let the water drain.Pat the florets completely dry.
In your fryer or in a heavy bottomed wide pan/wok let the 2-3 inches of canola oil heat up. In a bowl, throughly mix all the ingredients listed to make a smooth and thick batter.Dip the gobhi florets one by one in the batter and deep fry on low-medium heat till golden brown.Drain on paper towel.
Note – I do not boil the cauliflower before frying. I want the cauliflower to have a bite after deep-frying. However, do not fry the florets on very high heat either else they will be raw from inside.
Warm up the sauce prepared earlier if it gets cold. Gently add the fried cauliflower florets to the sauce and toss. Garnish with chopped ginger, chillies and cilantro if you like. Serve immediately!
- I usually make the sauce first and then fry up the cauliflower.This makes sure that the cauliflower stays crisp.If you are making the fritters first, let them stay warm in a 200 degree F oven while you make the sauce)
- You can use little tomato paste and sriracha in this recipe if you do not have tomato-chilli sauce.Adjust quantity to liking. Go light on vinegar at the end since the tomato paste is quite acidic.
- Adding tomato – chilli sauce adds sweetness too, you can adjust the level of sweet in this recipe either by adding ketchup or honey/agave/sugar.