General Tso’s Cauliflower
Sweet and spicy and better than takeout SHARE
When it comes to tonight's dinner, you can either call your local Chinese takeout joint, or you can make our recipe for General Tso's Cauliflower. Oh, what's that? You want to make our cauliflower recipe? Well, you chose right. Our version is spicy-sweet like the original but will please meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. (For the record, leftovers taste fantastic--that is, if there are any.)
What to drink it with: A red wine that can play along with the slightly sweet nature of the dish, like a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Makes 4 servings
Start to Finish: 1 hour 30 minutes
½ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cornstarch
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
½ cup neutral oil (like peanut or vegetable)
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
2 teaspoons sesame oil
6 scallions, white part finely sliced, green part chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
5 small dried chiles (optional)
¼ cup vegetable broth
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt to combine. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs, soy sauce and vinegar to combine. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour, whisking constantly. You should end up with a thick but still dip-able batter (thin with a little water if needed).
2. Heat the oil in a medium cast iron skillet until very hot (you can test it by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil--it should immediately sizzle and float).
3. Dip each piece of cauliflower fully in the batter, then place in the oil. Pan-fry the cauliflower until it’s golden on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper towels.
4. In a medium pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the finely-chopped white scallions, garlic, ginger and chiles, and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Add the broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
6. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch to combine. Pour about ¼ cup of the hot sauce over the mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Return the mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in the large pieces of green scallion.
7. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and has good flavor, 7 to 9 minutes more.
8. Add the cauliflower to the pot and toss to coat until the cauliflower is rewarmed, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds and with a side of steamed rice.