Lip smacking Gobi Manchurian and songs that take you back in time…

Published: May 15, 2014

This Manchurian is fiery, wholesome and lip smacking. PHOTO: SAADIA TARIQ

“Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh

Kahan shuroo kahan khatam

Yeh manzilein hain kaunsee

Na who samajh sakey na hum”

(What an odd story this is

Where does it start and where does it end

What are these destinations

Neither could they understand nor I)

Songs always take me away into a labyrinth of memories. They bridge the hazy connections, remind us of those deep associations, complete the euphoria, and let us relive the lovely and not so lovely moments with people, places and the past. One such song that I recently heard took me back to Singapore, to a friend who introduced us to a ‘desi’ Indian Chinese restaurant there.

This absolutely unassuming restaurant, housed in a faraway locale in Singapore, served Indian style Chinese food, and if you insist nicely, they would also provide you with dahi baray and chaat. Its parking space could accommodate precisely two and a half cars, which meant that you would have to be a diehard fan of the restaurant to make the half hour trip there and then spend another half hour looking for parking before actually sitting down for a meal.

So this one time, a friend and I decided to head out there in the afternoon after visiting an outrageously boring clothes exhibition. We wanted to overcome the disappointment of looking at flop fashion and thought some fiery, greasy yet absolutely tantalising food should be helpful. So Indian Wok it was!

Two hours of nonsensical talk, silly giggles and loads of Gobi Manchurian satiated us to the brim. In memory of this afternoon spent together over cauliflower and friendship, my friend and her hubby made sure that we have Gobi Manchurian amongst other delectable on our last evening with them in Singapore.

Although the labyrinth can continue forever, I will make an effort to come back and give a go at recreating the dish. This Manchurian is fiery, wholesome and lip smacking. However, it does require some deep frying which can be time consuming depending on the quantity. Milky white florets of cauliflower are battered and fried, and just before serving, viciously tossed and turned in a spicy sauce. It is then topped with chopped spring onions to give it the final oomph.

Photo: Saadia Tariq

Ingredients (serves two – as a side dish)

Cauliflower florets – 200 grams

Flour – ¾ cup

Corn flour – 2 tbsp

Ginger paste – 1 tsp

Garlic paste – 1 tsp

Pinch of salt

Water – ¾ cup

Oil for frying – 2 cups


Oil – 1 tbsp

Soy sauce – 2 tbsp

Tomato ketchup – 3 ½ tbsp

Chilli garlic sauce (store bought) – 2 tbsp

Green chilli sauce (store bought) – 1 ½ tbsp

Chopped spring onions for garnish


1. Cut florets of the cauliflower and set aside

2. Combine flour, corn flour, ginger and garlic paste, and salt in a large bowl. Add water to make a thick paste. Make sure not to make it too runny. Also, remember that flours have different strengths. So start by adding a little water at a time.

3. Heat oil in a wok, dip the florets in the batter and fry until golden brown. You might have to work in batches. Strain and put the fried cauliflower on kitchen paper and cover. Repeat until all are done.

4. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add all the ingredients of the sauce and bring to a gentle simmer. Once the sauce is bubbling in excitement, add the fried florets and stir well.

5. Make sure all the pieces are well covered with the sauce. Take them out in a serving bowl or dish, garnish with chopped green spring onions and serve at once.

Photo: Saadia Tariq

It can be served as a side or as mains with white rice.

Here’s to old friendships and countless cherished memories!

Photo: Saadia Tariq

“Yeh roshni key saath

Kyun dhuaan utha chiraag se

Yeh khwaab dekhti hoon mein

Key jag padi hoon khwaab sey”

(With this light

Why is this smoke coming from the lantern

This is the dream that I see

That I wake up from this dream)

This post originally appeared here

Saadia Tariq

Saadia Tariq

The writer is a food consultant, blogger and food photographer. You can see her work on her website, her Facebook page or follow her on twitter @capturebyst (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.