Kung Pao Cauliflower
While Kung Pao chicken originated in China, it has since moved to various parts of the world and has been “westernised” along the way to fit different taste palates. The vegan version of this would call for a replacement of chicken with cauliflower bits. This recipe is easily customisable – you can replace cauliflower with broccoli florets, tofu bits, mushrooms or soya chunks. They can also be baked, deep-fried or air-fried!
With a well-rounded flavour profile of umami, mildly spicy, sweet and nutty flavours, this appetiser sure is a celebration in your mouth!
Here’s how to make our all-time favourite Kung Pao cauliflower:
(For the batter)
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets (washed and dried)
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup water (or as required)
(For the sauce)
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar or ACV
- 4 tbsp vegetable broth or water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp sriracha (or to taste)
- 2-3 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce (optional)
(For the stir-fry)
- 2 medium onion, finely sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 2-3 green chillies, chopped
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tsp peanuts
- 2 stalks spring onion, chopped
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together chickpea flour, corn starch, salt, pepper and water to form a smooth batter.
- Drench the cauliflower florets in the batter until evenly coated and shake off the excess batter.
- For deep-frying – Heat oil in a wok. When the oil is ready for frying, drop the florets and cook until golden-brown and crisp.
For baking – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the battered florets on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.
- Transfer the florets to a plate.
- To prepare the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic, chillies & bell pepper, and sauté for 5-6 minutes or until wilted.
- Add the prepared sauce and stir well until the mixture starts to thicken. (If required, add 2-3 tbsp of water)
- Add the cauliflower florets and toss until well-coated with sauce.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and spring onion.