Here’s why Gobi Manchurian is banned in Goa

Gobi Manchurian, a beloved fusion dish featuring cauliflower florets bathed in a fiery red sauce, has captured the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts for years.

| Updated: 05 February, 2024 5:22 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Gobi Manchurian, a beloved fusion dish featuring cauliflower florets bathed in a fiery red sauce, has captured the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts for years. However, recent concerns regarding synthetic additives and hygiene have led to Mapusa, a city in Goa, banning the dish from stalls and feasts, according to a report by TOI.

Mapusa Municipal Council (MMC) chairperson Priya Mishal elaborates the first reason for such a unique ban. “The councillors opined that such vendors operate in unhygienic conditions and use synthetic colours for making gobi manchurian and that is what has prompted us to ban the sale of this dish,” she said.

This move by the MMC is not unprecedented in Goa. Back in 2022, during the Vasco Saptah fair at the Shree Damodar temple, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) issued directives to the Municipal Council to regulate the sale of Gobi Manchurian at stalls. Prior to this intervention, the FDA had conducted raids targeting such stalls in an effort to curb its prevalence.

While the ban can be linked to the use of synthetic additives and hygiene concerns, it can also be attributed to even more bizarre reasons- dodgy sauces and the use of a powder, in the preparation of the dish, used for washing clothes.

The ban on Gobi Manchurian highlights a clash between local culinary preferences and a dish that has gained widespread popularity over time.

The origins of Gobi Manchurian can be traced back to its chicken-based predecessor. Nelson Wang, a pioneering figure in Mumbai’s Chinese culinary scene, is credited with inventing chicken Manchurian in the 1970s while catering at the Cricket Club of India.

Challenged to create something innovative, Wang devised a recipe that involved deep-frying chicken nuggets coated in a spicy corn flour batter, served either dry or in a tangy gravy made with soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and occasionally tomato sauce. Gobi Manchurian emerged as a vegetarian alternative to this culinary creation.

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