February 24, 2021

Easy Vegan Recipes

Eat Vegan – Eat Well

Baked Cauliflower Manchurian

6 min read

Crispy panko-coated cauliflower florets are baked up and drenched in spicy gravy in this lightened-up take on cauliflower Manchurian.

Bowl of Cauliflower Manchurian with Water Glass, Cilantro and Pot of Gravy in the Background

I don’t have a favorite cuisine. It’s too hard to pick one! If I’m asked what my favorite is, I tend to go with whatever category the last delicious meal I’ve eaten belongs to, which means the answer changes quite a bit.

That’s why I love fusion dishes so much. The first time I was at an Indian restaurant and saw a section of the menu dedicated to Indian-Chinese dishes, I was all “huh?”

I assumed the chef dug Chinese food and was brilliant enough to incorporate Chinese elements into his Indian cooking. As luck would have it, that wasn’t the case. Indian-Chinese cuisine is a thing, and it’s pretty delicious.

What is Cauliflower Manchurian?

Overhead View of a Bowl of Baked Cauliflower Manchurian with Chopsticks and Water Glass on the Side

Cauliflower Manchurian, or gobi Manchurian, as it’s more likely to appear on a restaurant menu, is made with crispy cauliflower florets in spicy, savory sauce sauce. If you order it at a restaurant, the cauliflower will be batter-dipped and fried.

My version is baked.

What You’ll Need

Hand Holding a Pair of Chopsticks Grabbing a Cauliflower Floret From a Bowl of Cauliflower Manchurian

The ingredient list for this one is on the longer side, as my recipes go. But don’t let that discourage you! It’s so worth it, and many of the ingredients are pantry staples.

  • Flour
  • Non-dairy milk
  • Soy sauce
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Cauliflower
  • Neutral oil
  • Scallions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Celery
  • Serrano pepper (optional!)
  • Vegetable broth
  • Tomato paste
  • Maple syrup
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sambal oelek
  • Cornstarch
  • Cilantro

How to Make Baked Cauliflower Manchurian

Start by heating up the oven and lining a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.

Get ready to bread your cauliflower. To make your batter, whisk up some non-dairy milk, flour, and soy sauce in a small bowl. To make your breading, stir together some panko breadcrumbs, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a separate bowl.

Break your cauliflower into florets, then grab a floret and dip it into the batter. Take it out and shake off any excess batter, than dip it in the breading. Keep doing this and arranging the florets on your baking sheets. When they’re all done, lightly brush or mist them with some oil.

Collage Showing Process for Breading Cauliflower: Mix Batter, Mix Breading, Dip Cauliflower in Batter, Then Dip Cauliflower in Breading

Pop your baking sheets into the oven and bake the cauliflower until the coating is browned and crispy.

Two Images Showing Breaded Cauliflower on a Baking Sheet Before and After Baking

While the cauliflower bakes, make the gravy.

Heat up some oil in a small pot, then add the white parts of your scallions, along with some garlic, ginger, celery, and serrano pepper. Sauté everything for a minute or so, until it becomes very fragrant. Now add broth, soy sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, and sambal oelek. Let the sauce simmer while the cauliflower bakes.

When the sauce is about finished simmering, stir some cornstarch and cold water together in a small cup of bowl, then add it to the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for about another minute or so, until it thickens up a bit.

Collage Showing Steps for Making Manchurian Gravy: Sauté Veggies and Aromatics, Add Broth and Seasonings, Simmer, and Add Water and Cornstarch

When the cauliflower has finished baking, pour the sauce on top, then sprinkle it with the green parts of your scallions and some cilantro. Enjoy immediately!

Spoon Drizzling Manchurian Gravy Over a Bowl of Cauliflower Manchurian

Cauliflower Manchurian Tips & FAQ

  • This dish is best eaten right away — the breading on the cauliflower will get soggy pretty quickly! If you think you will have leftovers, try to keep the cauliflower and sauce separate, and store them that way. Reheat the sauce on the stove or in the microwave, and reheat the cauliflower in a 425°F oven until hot.
  • My sauce isn’t thickening? Why not? Make sure you actually bring it back up to a simmer — this can take a minute, as the cornstarch mixture can bring the temperature down a bit.
  • Can this recipe be made gluten-free? I haven’t tried making a gluten-free version, so I’m not sure! If you can find gluten-free vegan breadcrumbs, they can be substituted for the panko. You’ll also need to use gluten-free tamari in place of the soy sauce, and gluten-free flour — I think an all-purpose blend will work!
  • How can I reduce the sodium in this recipe? Try cutting back on the soy sauce or using a low sodium variety. You can also leave the salt out of the breading and use water instead of broth.
  • Looking for more crispy baked cauliflower recipes? Try my sticky sesame cauliflower or sticky lemon cauliflower.

Like this recipe? If so, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter. And please stop back and leave me a review and rating below if you make it!

Bowl of Cauliflower Manchurian with Water Glass, Cilantro and Pot of Gravy in the Background

Baked Cauliflower Manchurian

Crispy panko-coated cauliflower florets are baked up and drenched in spicy gravy in this lightened-up take on cauliflower Manchurian.

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

Servings 4

Calories 316 kcal

Author Alissa Saenz


For the Baked Cauliflower

  • 1 cup unflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium cauliflower crown (about 1 1/2 pounds), broken into florets
  • Canola oil (or neutral oil of choice)

For the Manchurian Gravy

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (or neutral oil of choice)
  • 4 medium scallions, white and green parts separated and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek or sriracha sauce (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

For Serving

  • Fresh cilantro


To Make the Baked Cauliflower

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Make the batter. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, flour, and soy sauce.

  3. Make the breading. In a separate bowl, stir together the panko breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

  4. Dip a cauliflower floret into batter, rolling it around to coat it. Remove the floret and shake off any excess batter, then transfer the floret to the breading. Roll it around to coat it.

  5. Place the cauliflower floret on the baking sheet and repeat the process for the remaining florets.

  6. Generously spray or brush the cauliflower florets with oil.

  7. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake the cauliflower until tender and lightly browned on the outside.

To Make the Gravy

  1. While the cauliflower bakes, coat the bottom of a small pot with oil and place it over medium heat.

  2. Add the white parts of the scallions, garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, and celery. Sauté everything for about a minute, until very fragrant.

  3. Stir in the broth, soy sauce, tomato paste, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sambal oelek or sriracha, and black pepper.

  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Stir the water and cornstarch together in a small bowl or cup, then stir the mixture into the broth mixture. Bring it back up to a simmer and let it cook for about 1 minute, until it thickens up a bit.

To Serve

  1. Transfer the baked cauliflower to a plate or bowl and pour the gravy over top. Sprinkle with cilantro and the green parts of the scallions. Divide onto plates and serve.

Nutrition Facts

Baked Cauliflower Manchurian

Amount Per Serving (1 cup (1/4 of batch))

Calories 316 Calories from Fat 76

% Daily Value*

Fat 8.4g13%

Saturated Fat 0.6g3%

Sodium 1382mg58%

Potassium 721mg21%

Carbohydrates 51.6g17%

Fiber 6.5g26%

Sugar 9.1g10%

Protein 9.3g19%

Calcium 183mg18%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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