I first had this dish - an Indo-Chinese affair- at a restaurant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was called the Maharaja of India, I believe, and my work friends (as well as some of our students) would routinely hit the lunch buffet on Fridays. I was in the mood for some Indian food last night because the variety of vegetarian dishes is just immense. Plus, Indian food is just fragrant and delicious and fun to make.
I hit the Internet in search of the basics of the recipe, and then I added things that I remembered from the restaurant in Alabama to put some different touches on it. It was amazing, let me tell you!
1/2 cauliflower, broken into florettes
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for deep frying
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
For the sauce:
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Serrano chilies, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup ketchup (I know!)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
3-4 green onions, sliced
1-2 tablespoons oil for frying
Mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Stir in enough water to make a batter. Dip the cauliflower pieces in the batter.
Heat the oil to 350 F. Deep-fry the cauliflower in small batches until crisp and dark golden in color. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Steam-fry the red and green bell peppers in a skillet in some water until tender, 7-8 minutes. Let the water evaporate.
Remove the peppers and heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in the skillet. Fry the onions, garlic, and chilies over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the chili sauce, soy sauce,vinegar, and ketchup. Stir and cook 2-3 minutes, until sauce thickens.
Add the fried cauliflower pieces and red and green peppers to the sauce. Stir to coat. Add green onions on top and serve. It would be good with a handful of fresh cilantro scattered on top, too.
I ended up making a shrimp curry as well (I've eaten fish a couple of times during this experiment), but I elected to forgo it in favor of cauliflower.