Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower. Cauliflower battered and baked and tossed in spicy kung pao sauce. Super hot Appetizer for gameday. Vegan Recipe. Can be gluten-free with gluten-free breadcrumbs. Double the kung pao sauce for larger cauliflower or to serve over rice.
Author: Vegan Richa
For the Baked Crispy Cauliflower
5tbspcorn starch or other starch
6tbspbread crumbsuse gluten-free crumbs to make gf
5tbspor more water
1/2tspcayenneuse a 1/3 tsp for less heat
1/4tsproasted sesame oil
1medium head of cauliflowerchopped into florets
For the Kung Pao sauce:
8 to 10dried red chilieschinese red chilies, or arbol or cayenne, or use california red for less heat
1/2tspcoarsely crushed sichuan peppercornsor use a mix of coarsely crushed black pepper and red pepper flakes
2 to 3tbspchopped cashews or peanuts
4 to 5clovesof garlicminced
2.5tbsplow sodium soy sauce/tamariuse certified gluten-free sauce to make gf
Chop up the cauliflower and keep aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F / 220ºc. Mix the cornstarch breadcrumbs, and the rest of the ingredients to make a batter. Let the batter sit for 10 seconds to thicken if it isn't thick. The cornstarch continues to thicken the batter, so as soon as it is a good not too watery consistency, start dipping the cauliflower in the batter, tap to drop excess and place on parchment lined baking sheet. If the batter thickens too much while working, add a tsp or more water and mix in and continue.
Bake for 30 minutes or longer until the florets are cooked through. Check with a toothpick/knife
Meanwhile make the sauce. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the red chilies and peppercorns and cook until the red chilies are fragrant, but not overly brown, or someone starts sneezing. (For more heat, break some of the chilies into half and add to the skillet.)
Add the nuts and mix for a few seconds. Add the ginger, garlic, reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook until the garlic is golden. 4 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add in the scallions, and 2 to 3 tbsp finely chopped green peppers or other veggies if using and mix in. Increase heat to medium. Cook for a minute.
Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and add to the skillet. Continue to cook until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens slightly. 2 mins. Carefully taste and adjust salt, sweet and spice. If the sauce is not hot enough, break a few of the chilies open or add in red pepper flakes to taste and mix in.
Arrange the baked cauliflower in a shallow bowl in one layer. When ready to serve, Drizzle the sauce over each floret. Serve.
To store, store the baked cauliflower and sauce separately. Heat the sauce, pour over the florets. To serve with rice/cooked grains, double the sauce mix and bring to a boil to thicken, toss in the cauliflower and serve immediately over rice.
Its easy for the sauce to go from mild to super hot with the broken chilies. Whole chilies add a smoked mild heat flavor and you can adjust the heat using pepper flakes later. I usually break half the chilies and use hot cayenne or thai and the sauce easily gets to 5 star heat. :)Nutritional values based on one serving