I love cauliflower. A lot. I've always liked cauliflower over the years, but I typically always ate it raw with dip, or steamed as a side. As I began moving towards a vegan diet, and especially after going vegan, I realized the true potential of this amazing vegetable. It's sturdy and can hold up well. You can slather it in a good sauce and bake it whole, you can make cauliflower steaks on the grill, and you can break it up into florets and do a myriad of things. When I break it up into florets, I like to make a light batter to dip it in (seasoned to preference for the particular style I'm going for) and then either bake or fry it until crisp. I've baked savory chunks served with mashed potatoes and gravy (try it), or, my other favorite, fry it crisp and make an Asian-style sauce to cover it with. Put all of it over some basmati or jasmine rice, and you've got a drool-worthy dish.
Monday is one of my days off, and my only day off before a long work stretch, and I realized that I never have time during the week to have a decent meal. I remedied that by prepping a bunch of vegetables, bagging, and labeling them. One of those bags was labeled Orange Cauliflower. It was so easy to whip up the other day since it was all prepped and ready for batter, and completely, thoroughly delicious.
1 head of cauliflower, cleaned, trimmed, and broken up into florets
For the batter:
1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. rice flour (Rice flour imparts a unique, amazing crispiness so skip it if you must, but if you have some....please use it.)
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 t. each salt and pepper
1/4 c. - 1/2 c. water (You want a thin batter, not too thick, not too thin so start with a 1/4 c. and slowly add as needed up to 1/2 c. from there. Basically, you want to sauce to coat the florets, not fall off or stick to it in globs.)
For the sauce:
1 c. orange juice
2 T. soy sauce or tamari
1 T. rice wine vinegar
3 T. sugar
1/2 T. red pepper flake
1 t. each of granulated garlic and granulated onion
1 T. corn starch
Oil for frying
For the rice:
1 c. rinsed rice
2 c. water
1/2 t. salt
1. Bring 2 c. water to a boil in a saucepan, add rice until it reaches a boil. Turn down heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook for approx 15 minutes, or until tender.
2.. Whisk batter ingredients together in a mixing bowl until incorporated.
3. Heat oil for frying in a large frying pan over high heat.
4. Toss the cauliflower florets in the batter. Add half the florets to the frying pan, giving them space to fry without touching. Fry until crisp on one side, roughly 5 minutes, and then turn and fry until crisp on the other side as well. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the rest of the florets.
5. Whisk together the sauce ingredients and add to a saucepan set to medium-high. Whisk sauce on stove until it boils and starts to thicken. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes, whisking every minute.
6. Mix the sauce and cauliflower together, toss to coat.
7. Serve with rice.
This recipe would be great to add a few veggies or a can of Mandarin oranges if so desired.