I usually end every year spending time with my family down South at my parents’ house. We have a big family dinner and I usually make a couple desserts and a few other dishes. So this past December I decided to try a recipe I had recently seen for General Tso’s Cauliflower. This recipe turned out so good. The cauliflower fried up so golden brown that they looked like little chicken nuggets. I watched with amusement as some of my friends and family bite into the cauliflower thinking it was chicken. Everyone was surprised to find out it was a vegetable rather than chicken and the dish was a hit.
- 1 head cauliflower cut into small florets
- a deep layer of oil for frying
- scallions and sesame seeds for topping optional
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 knob of ginger grated
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar more to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1-2 tablespoons of cold water
- 1 cup flour
- 2/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 eggs
- water as needed about 1/2 cup
General Tso’s Sauce: Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a minute or two. Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.Bring to a low boil; simmer for another 20-30 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Add more sweetness, citrus, etc. to your taste.
Cauliflower Batter: Whisk all the batter ingredients until a loose batter forms. The batter should be thick enough to cling to the cauliflower and cover it but stay loose enough to easily drip off (adjust thickness with water if necessary).
Cauliflower Frying: Pour oil into a heavy bottomed skillet to make it deep enough so it will cover the cauliflower about halfway (probably ends up being a few cups).
Heat the oil over medium heat. Drop a small bit of batter in the oil to test it – when it rises to the top and bubbles, the oil is ready.
Dip cauliflower florets in the batter and let the excess drip off before gently setting in the oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side, then flip, repeating sides several times if necessary until you get a nice golden brown fried exterior.
Remove and set on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath (this helps keeps the cauliflower crispy rather than putting it in a plate or bowl).
Serving: Toss the fried cauliflower with the sauce (enough just to cover) and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds for serving.
So I hope your family enjoys the recipe as much as mine did.