Chinese food in India is modified to quite an extent and it might be fair to say that it is far from the actual Chinese food. In fact, as many of you may be knowing, ‘Manchurian’ is not a Chinese dish. It is quite interesting to see how we have come to love recipes which are a beautiful blend of easily available ingredients of India, the Chinese techniques of cooking and some of their core ingredients like Soy sauce !
Sharing with you all something interesting I found on Quora:
Almost all Indian Chinese food that we eat has originated in India, specifically in Calcutta (Kolkata), where a small Chinese community, in the Chinatown area, has invented Indianized versions of authentic dishes.
It is similar to Chinese food in that the cooking equipment and techniques (like shallow frying in a wok) have been retained, but the ingredients have been replaced by commonly found Indian ingredients like onions, green peppers, ginger, but combined it with some well-known ingredients of Chinese cooking like soy sauce and MSG.
The person who invented Chicken Manchurian is Nelson Wang, who created the dish in 1975 when he was asked to “make something not on the menu”, when catering at the Cricket Club of India. He created the dish by using the above mentioned ingredients and coating chicken in cornflour since beef and pork are not widely consumed in India.
His restaurant, China Garden is in Mumbai and his son Eddie still runs the restaurant, which has won awards over the years.
Ingredients (Serves 2 – 3)
For the cauliflower fritters:
- Cauliflower florets – approximately 2 cups
- All Purpose Flour – 3 tbsp
- Corn Flour – 3 tbsp
- Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp
- Ginger Garlic Paste – 1tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
For the Gravy:
- Onion diced – 2 medium sized
- Capsicum diced – 1/2 medium sized (optional)
- Garlic chopped – 5-6 cloves
- Ginger grated – 1 inch
- Green Chili diagonally chopped – 1
- Soy Sauce – 2 tbsp
- Tomato Sauce – 2 tbsp
- Red chili powder/ Paprika – 1/2 tsp
- Black Pepper – a pinch
- Salt to taste
- Ajino Moto / Chinese Salt – 1/2 tsp (optional)
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- Cornstarch – 1/2 tbsp (optional)
- Spring Onion chopped for garnish (optional)
- Boil the cauliflower for 2-3 minutes, strain and put aside. Make a medium consistency batter with the all purpose flour, corn flour, salt, pepper and ginger garlic paste (the batter should be thick enough to coat well on the florets).
- Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan. Coat the florets well in the batter and fry them at medium flame to ensure the cauliflowers cook well. Put them aside on a tissue paper to drain out excess oil.
- For the gravy, heat oil in a pan (I prefer using an iron pan for this recipe for a smoky flavor). Add ginger and garlic and saute till they are light golden. Next add the onions and saute till translucent followed by capsicum (optional). Saute them for about 6-7 minutes or till tender (you can cover with a lid and keep stirring at intervals for the veggies to cook thoroughly).
- Add the sauces, pepper, paprika, Chinese salt and the regular salt. Mix well and then add a little water to get your desired consistency. If you like your sauce a little thick or you want to increase the sauce of the recipe, you can add a cornstarch – water mixture in the end and cook for about 2-3 minutes and the sauce will thicken (1/2 tbsp cornstarch in 1/4 cup water).
- Add the cauliflower fritters, stir well and turn off the heat. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve hot!
This taste best when served with some Chinese Fried Rice. You can also try making Stir Fired Veggies in Hot Garlic Sauce if you wish to have a non-frying Chinese gravy dish. You can make Paneer Manchurian by replacing boiled cauliflower florets by Paneer cubes in the recipe.