Starting this week with a recipe that’ll spice up your Monday!
I’m so excited for this Monday. Crazy?! Let me tell you why: because it’s President’s Day, that’s why! Which means I have the day off, away from the classroom, free to sleep in, stay in my pajamas all day, and make me some Crispy Chili Cauliflower.
A while back I went to a restaurant in South Minneapolis where I wanted to order everything. It was the balance of trying several items, but trying not to over order because it all sounded so good. One unassuming dish, simply named “cauliflower” stood out as it description read “sweet chili, BBQ, sesame, green onions.” The waiter said it was one of the best vegetable sides, so it was a no brainer it had to be ordered.
I didn’t expect I’d like it as much as I did – the cauliflower was fried in the lightest batter, resulting in a perfectly crisp exterior. Then coated in a delectable sauce – a bit of sweet, spicy, unique, deliciousness. It’s almost difficult to explain – there were so many flavors floating around and I couldn’t stop eating it bite after bite!
Obviously this meant I got straight to testing my own version. The sauce is a wonderful mix of BBQ sauce (use your favorite – I use this sauce), chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, green onion, fresh ginger, and honey. Together this mix is a bit sweet, spicy, and a little tangy because of the BBQ sauce. SO GOOD YOU GUYS!
Now for the cauliflower, my favorite way to prepare it is to lightly fry them in a – you guessed it! – light batter. It adds an extra crispiness to the cauliflower that you can’t get otherwise. Alternatively, I have baked them with the batter, which is good, and almost results in a deeper flavor because the sauce bakes in the cauliflower florets. It’s just a little less crispy. I’m going to leave you with both cooking methods in the recipe – because to each his (or her!) own.
To be honest, it’s really all about this killer sauce, so in the end you just could roast up some unbattered cauliflower and toss it in the sauce. You simply cannot go wrong.
So we have this sweet, spicy, crispy cauliflower dish – but what is it? Is it a full meal? Is it a side? Is it an appetizer? My friends, this is the beauty of Crispy Chili Cauliflower – it’s whatever you want it to be!
My favorite way to enjoy this recipe is to make it for dinner and serve it with rice. It’s like a quick better-than-takeout dinner. I’ve also eaten it along side sautéed shrimp – you could serve it with your favorite protein. Or keep your florets large, stick a toothpick in them, and serve at your next party as an appetizer.
Go on, enjoy in whichever way you tummy desires and make Monday spicy!
Crispy Chili Cauliflower
- 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
- 4 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons green onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 cup flour + 1/2 cup for dredging
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 4 cups cauliflower florets, approx. 1 small-medium head of cauliflower
- Oil for frying
- Green onion, for garnish
- Cilantro, for garnish
- In a small bowl, whisk together BBQ sauce, chili garlic paste, sesame oil, green onions, ginger, and honey. Add salt to taste as needed.
- In a new bowl, whisk together flour, milk, water, garlic powder, white pepper, and salt.
- Dredge cauliflower in 1/2 cup flour. In batches, place dredged cauliflower in batter to coat, letting batter drip off before cooking.
- Fry: To fry the cauliflower, heat 1-2 inches of oil (I use vegetable) in a dutch oven. Place battered cauliflower in heated oil and fry on each side for approximately 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Be sure to not crowd the pan. Remove florets and place on a paper towel to drain oil. Continue frying in batches until all cauliflower is cooked. Toss in the sauce; serve with additional green onion slices, cilantro and sesame seeds as desired.
- Bake: If baking, preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place battered florets in a single layer. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in sauce (I like to reserve some sauce little for when it's served). Continue baking for an additional 10-12 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Top with additional green onion slices, cilantro and sesame seeds as desired.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
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