By adding lots of crunch to vegetables, they become more appetizing. Toss crunchy veggies in a thick sticky sauce and they become exciting. Keeping those two things in mind, I made this dish which I have named soy chili honey garlic cauliflower. Sam is out and I am serving this as an appetizer to the non-vegetarians in my family.
Why a vegan appetizer for non-vegetarians? Well, see, the time I made meatballs with sweet and sour sauce, I also cooked cauliflower with sweet and sour sauce for Sam. There was only half a head of cauliflower and just enough for one person. Alex looked longingly at the food meant for her sister and asked if she could have some too. I told her we had meatballs already and if we halved the cauliflower with sweet and sour sauce, there’d be too little for Sam. I promised her we’d make another cauliflower dish though.
The thing is, I don’t remember Alex being enamored of cauliflower when she was younger. Although both girls have always loved broccoli, it was only Sam who adored cauliflower since she was little. It wasn’t until Sam turned vegetarian and I cooked chili orange cauliflower (for Sam, primarily, but enough for everyone to share) that Alex seemed to develop a serious interest in cauliflower. Since she’s the one who often accompanies her father to the market and the grocery, I told Alex that the next time cauliflower is in the “to buy” list, someone ought to remember to get a large head of cauliflower instead of the usual small one meant only for Sam.
So, here’s to keeping promises. And, Sam, when you get to read this, I will cook this dish again when you get home.
- For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- a drizzle of sesame seed oil
- For the batter:
- ⅓ cup corn starch
- ⅓ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- To complete the dish:
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- cooking oil for frying
- finely sliced scallions, to garnish
- Make the sauce. In a small sauce pan, mix together the soy sauce, Sriracha, honey, garlic, corn starch and two tablespoons water. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick and clear. Lower the heat and simmer for another two to three minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and sesame seed oil. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the starch, flour, salt and pepper. Stir in enough iced water to make a thick but still pourable batter. Dump the cauliflower florets into the batter and mix to coat each piece well.
- In a wok or frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least two inches. Over medium-high heat, cook the Drop the battered cauliflower one by one into the hot oil and cook, flipping midway through the cooking if necessary, until lightly browned and crisp. If your wok or frying pan is rather small, cook the cauliflower in two to three batches to avoid overcrowding. Scoop out the cauliflower and drain on stack of paper towels.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the sauce. Toss until every floret is glazed and shiny.
- Transfer the soy chili honey garlic cauliflower to a serving plate or shallow bowl (or in individual bowls or plates). Garnish with sliced scallions and serve.