The recipe for Korean Fried Cauliflower is completely vegan and still tastes like a wonderful, decadent treat. The same wonderful soy garlic sauce used in our famous Korean Fried Chicken recipe is mixed with large, crunchy bits of cauliflower.
Frying the cauliflower adds a few more steps, but it’s worth it in the end.
FRIED CAULIFLOWER, THE KOREAN WAY: A VEGAN RECIPE
Why is cauliflower such a popular choice among those watching their weight? I have no shame in admitting that I have never liked cauliflower rice or cauliflower pizza dough.
But we’re open to trying new things, so we’re down for substituting fried cauliflower for chicken if we have to.
EASY RECIPE FOR CRUNCHY CAULIFLOWER
Double frying the cauliflower is necessary to achieve the desired crispiness. The first fry sets the batter and creates a slight crunch. Internal steam is released in the exterior coating as the fried parts rest. However, the cauliflower would quickly turn soggy if you stopped there.
After the second round of frying, the moisture has been removed, leaving a coating that is not only crunchy but also sticks to the cauliflower as you toss and eat. The difference between a competent frying job and a soggy-riffic one may seem contradictory, given that everything is eventually thrown in a sauce ANYWAYS.
- 2 pounds of cauliflower
- canola or peanut oil for frying
- 10 tablespoons of cake flour
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of potato starch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
SOY GARLIC SAUCE:
- 7 cloves of minced garlic
- 3 dried red chili peppers
- 1 small finely minced shallot
- 2/3 cup of mirin
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of gochujang
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
FOR THE BATTER:
- Prepare your cauliflower by cleaning it thoroughly and chopping it into large florets, each approximately the size of your palm. Remove any surplus moisture by shaking.
- Mix the potato starch, cake flour, baking soda, salt, and white pepper together in a large bowl using a whisk. To the bowl, add the water and mix in the sesame oil.
- Deep-fry anything you want by heating 4 to 5 cups of oil to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius) in a large saucepan. Half full is good, as too much oil in a frying pan can cause burns and splatters.
- Coat the cauliflower in the batter by dipping it in small batches and flipping it. Fry the battered pieces in batches of three or four, depending on the size of your pot.
- Frying the cauliflower should take about 2–3 minutes per batch until the batter is set and the cauliflower is browned. Reduce the heat if they brown too rapidly.
- Use a cooling rack set over a baking sheet for draining, and strain the oil between batches to get rid of any residual debris. The steam released by the cauliflower while it sits will aid in crisping it up during its second round in the oil.
- Combine the shallot, garlic, and dried chili peppers with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a saucepan and cook over low heat (if using, for optional spice). Continue cooking for another 3–4 minutes, stirring periodically, or until the shallots have become transparent.
- Dried chili peppers can be chopped with or without their seeds, depending on how much heat you prefer. Leave them out completely if you want your sauce on the light side.
- Then, stir in the rice vinegar, light brown sugar, gochujang, dijon mustard, and remaining soy sauce. Constantly stirring, bring the sauce to a simmer (4-5 minutes).
- When the sauce reaches a simmer, take it off the heat but keep it covered and heated.
FINAL FRY AND SAUCE:
- In order to complete a second and final frying session, heat the oil to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius). Continue frying the cauliflower in batches for another 1-2 minutes or until it reaches the desired crispiness and color. Refrigerator rack for draining.
- After the second round of frying, transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and toss it with the sauce.
- Toss until everything is evenly coated, then dish up!