Gobi 65 (cauliflower 65) is like a vegetarian version of a spicy chicken drumlet. We couldn’t get enough of this delicious appetizer throughout India and after several attempts at making it, we finally have been able to replicate it at home. It’s good for both vegetarians who may miss eating chicken drumlets and for meat eaters who just want to try something different. Those in the former group might find this creative use of cauliflower will help lessen cravings for meat in those first few months of meatlessness.
Gobi 65 is essentially deep-fried cauliflower florets battered in a spicy, flavorful mixture. This may be one of my favorite appetizers in the world, but it is quite time-consuming to make, especially if you have never made it before. I recommend that you plan to make this on a slow Sunday afternoon instead of on a Wednesday night after work (at least for the first time).
There are vegan Gobi 65 recipes out there, and I tried numerous versions, but when it comes to creating a breading that sticks while being fried, you really need an egg bath. For any vegans who have figured out how to create a “wet” batter that can survive being fried in oil, substitute that for the eggs while keeping the rest of the recipe the same.
Vegetarian Gobi 65 Recipe, serves 4
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
3 cups canola oil for deep-frying
Three mixing bowls
Parchment paper or a greased pan
Spicy dipping sauce (recipe below)
Step 1: Wash cauliflower florets and transfer them to a large pot of boiling water. Make sure there is enough water to cover all the florets. Sprinkle in the turmeric powder and cook for no longer than 5 minutes (Overcooking will make the cauliflower crumble and this recipe impossible to make).
Step 2: Drain all the water in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set cauliflower aside.
Step 3: Take out three mixing bowls. Put cornstarch in the first bowl (which will remove moisture from the cauliflower). The second will have the eggs, which will coat the florets after dipping them into the cornstarch. In the last bowl, add the remaining ingredients (except the oil): flour, bread crumbs, chili powder, ginger powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder. As you finish battering the florets, set each aside on parchment paper or a greased pan.
Step 3: In a wok or deep pan, heat the canola oil to 365 degree F (use a cooking thermometer to set the correct temperature, as oil can ignite if it’s overheated) and carefully place the battered cauliflower into the hot oil (hot oil is extremely dangerous so use a splatter guard and wear an apron whenever possible). Depending on their size, most will cook in 4-5 minutes. They should have a golden brown look when they are finished. Place finished florets on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
Spicy dipping sauce
6 tablespoons garlic, minced
6 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 Thai chili peppers, minced
1 cup tomato puree
4 tablespoons garlic chili sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Step 1: Mix all the ingredients except the oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
Step 2: Heat the canola oil in a frying pan over medium heat for 1 minute.
Step 3: Add the mixture and stir for 1-2 minutes before adding the vinegar. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Step 4: Remove sauce from heat and transfer to a small dipping bowl. Let cool (until it is room temperature) and serve with Gobi 65.
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