Going for Gobi
The long history of Chinese cooking in America has evolved toward the sweet and syrupy. By contrast, in India, where the fusion is known as "Indo-Chinese," the flavors that emerged over the last century from the Chinese community in eastern India have veered toward high-voltage spice and sour. Take my new favorite vegetarian dish, which is becoming more common in Philadelphia-area Indian restaurants: Gobi Manchurian. The cauliflower florets are crisped in a seasoned corn batter, then sauced in a mahogany slick that could be mistaken for General Tso's - until you take a bite. At the Dosa Hut in Eagleville, where I order mine "dry" (instead of in gravy), the soy- and tomato-based sauce also rings with powdered coriander and chiles, spicy sambal oelek paste, and a tangy undertow (vinegar?) that keeps your fork coming back, even if the spice on your tongue is glowing, "Stop!"