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A bowl Gobi Manchurian with rice and cilantro against a white background.

Vegan Gobi Manchurian

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4.7 from 3 reviews

  • Author: erin wysocarski
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings
  • Diet: Vegan


This Gobi Manchurian is a naturally vegan dish that features crispy, spicy cauliflower. This recipe uses an air-fryer after deep frying to lock in the flavor of the sauce and develop an irresistible crispy texture. All you need is basmati rice and some chopped cilantro and you have heaven in a bowl!


for the sauce

  • 1 TB canola oil
  • 2 TB minced garlic
  • 2 TB minced ginger
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2/3 cup vegetable broth, plus a little more if needed
  • 1/3 cup sambal (cut back to half or 1 TB for less spicy)

for the batter

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus 1-4 TB extra
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup water

for the cauliflower + to serve

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small, bite-sized florets
  • plenty of canola, grapeseed or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 servings of prepared basmati rice
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish


to make the sauce

  1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute until softened but not browned (about 7 minutes) adding in splashes of the vegetable broth as needed.
  2. Add in the red onion and scallions, and stir to combine. Keep adding liquid to the pan as needed to allow the vegetables to soften, but not brown (10-15 minutes).
  3. By this time, the vegetables should be soft and most of the liquid absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the desired amount of sambal. Set aside.

to make the batter

  1. Combine all of the batter ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, except for the extra 4 TB cornstarch and water.
  2. Add in the water, stir gently, adding in extra cornstarch one tablespoon at a time as needed to obtain a smooth consistency. You want it thin enough to coat the cauliflower florets, but not so thin in drips too fast, or too thick that it doesn’t coat the florets evenly.

to prepare the cauliflower

  1. Place the florets into a large saucepan. Cover with water and place a lid over the top. Bring to a boil on the stovetop, then remove from the heat and drain. I transferred to a baking sheet with a cooling rack set inside to allow the cauliflower to drain and cool.
  2. Place several inches of oil into a small cast iron pot or deep fryer and heat to 325-350 degrees.
  3. Place several florets into the batter and carefully drop into the hot oil one at a time. Fry until golden, then transfer to paper towels with a skimmer to drain while you repeat the process with the rest of the florets. Don’t overcrowd the pot or your florets will stick to each other.
  4. Toss the fried florets into the prepared sauce, then place into an air fryer for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees, shaking every few minutes to avoid sticking. (You may need to do this in 2-4 batches depending on your airfryer size.)
  5. Serve immediately with prepared basmati rice and chopped cilantro.


  1. Heat Level Adjustment: The spiciness of Gobi Manchurian can be easily adjusted to suit your taste. If you prefer a milder version, reduce the amount of sambal in the sauce. For those who love extra heat, feel free to increase the sambal or add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce.
  2. Gluten-Free Option: To make this Gobi Manchurian gluten-free, substitute the all-purpose flour with any gluten-free flour blend and ensure your cornstarch and other ingredients are certified gluten-free. This simple swap allows everyone to enjoy this delicious dish without compromising on taste or texture.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sautéed, Battered, Deep-Fried, Air-Fried
  • Cuisine: Indian, Chinese, Indo-Chinese