Kung Pao Cauliflower Bites
How to Make Kung Pao Cauliflower
If you love the classic flavors of Kung Pao chicken but want to cut out the meat, make a cauliflower Kung Poa instead. You can quickly mix up a marinade for chopped cauliflower and then saute the cauliflower. Toss the cauliflower with a savory sauce, peanuts, lots of spicy peppers, garlic, and ginger. Finish the dish by frying the cauliflower and serve it with plenty of steamed white rice.
For Kung Pao Cauliflower
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons of Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons of hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
Kung Pao Cauliflower
1 medium head of cauliflower (about 1¾ pounds or 790 g)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, divided
3 ounces (85 g) of slab or thick-cut bacon, chopped
6 dried japones chiles, chiles de árbol, or other red chiles
1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns or ½ teaspoon of cracked black peppercorns
3 scallions, dark-green and white parts separated, thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, sliced
1 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
¼ cup (30 g) of unsalted, roasted peanuts
Kosher salt to taste
Marinating and Prepping the Cauliflower
Make the marinade and sauce.For the marinade, measure 2 tablespoons of Chinese rice wine or dry sherry, 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce into a small bowl. Stir the marinade and set it aside. For the sauce, stir together the following ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside:
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
Wash and cut the cauliflower.Wash 1 medium head of cauliflower that weighs about 1 3/4 pounds (790 g). Peel off and throw away the leaves. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Cut off and throw away the thick, tough end of the cauliflower stalk. Cut the rest of the usable stalk into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) pieces.
- You can use any type or color of cauliflower that you like.
Saute the cauliflower and stir in the marinade.Pour 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil into a wok and turn the heat on to medium-high. When the oil shimmers, add the cauliflower pieces (with the stalk pieces). Saute the cauliflower for 7 to 9 minutes. The cauliflower should start to soften and turn a little brown in spots. Stir in the marinade, so the cauliflower is coated and transfer the cauliflower to a bowl.
- If you don't have a wok, you can use a large cast-iron skillet.
Cook the bacon.Get out 3 ounces (85 g) of slab or thick-cut bacon. Cut the bacon into thick pieces or use kitchen shears to slice them into pieces. Put the bacon and the last 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil into the wok. Cook the bacon over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until it's brown and crispy.
- Stir the bacon frequently so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the wok.
Frying and Seasoning the Kung Pao Cauliflower
Stir in the dried chilies and peppercorns.Add 6 dried japones chilies and 1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns to the wok with the bacon. Continue to cook the bacon with the spices for about 30 seconds. They should become fragrant. Carefully scoop out the bacon, chilies, and peppercorns to a small prep bowl. Leave the bacon drippings in the wok.
- If you don't have japones chilies, you can use chiles de árbol or other red chilies.
- If you don't have Sichuan peppercorns, you can use ½ teaspoon of cracked black peppercorns.
Fry the cauliflower.Put the sauteed cauliflower back into the wok using a slotted spoon. This will help the excess marinade drip back into the bowl. Fry the cauliflower on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir it every once in a while. You should see dark or crisp spots as it fries.
- Discard the extra marinade that drips back into the prep bowl.
Add the sauce and remaining ingredients.Stir in the premade sauce along with 2 sliced garlic cloves, ¼ cup (30 g) of unsalted, roasted peanuts, and 1 sliced serrano chile. You should also slice 3 scallions and separate them into white and green parts. Add the white parts to the wok. Stir in 1 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger that you've peeled and finely chopped.
- If you like, you can use cashews instead of the peanuts.
Finish cooking the cauliflower.Cook the Kung Pao cauliflower for about 2 minutes. The sauce should smell spicy and the cauliflower will be completely soft. Stir in the spicy bacon mixture and cook the dish for one more minute. Salt the dish according to your preferences and serve it immediately.
- Consider serving Kung Pao cauliflower with steamed white rice and the green sliced scallions.
Video: Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower - VeganRicha.com
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