It is a constant struggle to find recipes that appeal to the group and satisfy the meat lovers in the family. They are accepting of plant-based meals but occasionally I get the comment of how good this dish would be with chicken or that dish would be with seafood. This crispy orange sesame cauliflower could have stood on its own, sans meat. I threw some shrimp on the side so as to avoid the usual is there meat to go with this question but honestly, it didn’t need it.
I’m not a huge fan of frying food, but that little bit of crisp under the gooey orange sesame sauce was delicious and gave a nice texture to the cauliflower. The nice thing about cauliflower is that its texture (when not cooked to a state of mush) is similar to meat. It’s all about tricking the brain of the eater into thinking they are eating meat. I paired this dish as mentioned with a side of shrimp sauteed in garlic and some sauteed spinach for some healthy greens and a splash of colour. We tried it with long grain rice but I would definitely make it again on a bed of rice noodles.
A word to the wise… once the frying of the cauliflower starts it goes pretty quickly. I recommend making all of the sauces ahead to be set aside until needed, start the rice or noodles as the cauliflower goes into the pan and make the shrimp ahead to be rewarmed as the cauliflower is finishing. I am still working on my multi-tasking kitchen skills; thankfully my husband was there to lend a hand.
With thanks to Mary Mattern of the cookbook Nom Yourself
Makes 4 large plates
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup water
1 tsp sunflower oil*
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying**
1 medium head of cauliflower, stemmed and cut into bite-size pieces
Orange Sesame Sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup orange juice***
1/2 Tbsp orange zest
2 Tbsp liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp (packed) organic brown sugar
Chili Mayo Sauce
1 Tbsp chili sauce****
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise*****
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp thinly sliced scallion greens
1. To make the cauliflower: In a medium bowl, mix the cornstarch, flour, kosher salt, water, and sunflower oil.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. To test the oil, place a dab of the batter into the oil. If it sizzles without splashing, you’re ready to go.
3. Dip each piece of cauliflower in the batter, then place in the skillet. Do not crowd- you will to turn them.
4. Keep turning the cauliflower until all the sides are lightly brown, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.
5. Once all the cauliflower has been fried, set aside.
6. To make the orange sesame sauce: Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
7. Add the garlic powder, orange juice, orange zest and liquid aminos and stir.
8. In a small bowl, mix together the rice wine vinegar and cornstarch until the cornstarch dissolves. Add the mixture to the skillet, then add the brown sugar and cook for about another 3 to 4 minutes, or until thick.
9. In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower and the orange sesame sauce.
10. To make the chili mayo sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the chili sauce and the vegan mayonnaise.
11. Plate the cauliflower, topped with chili mayo sauce, sesame seeds, and scallions.
* I used Grapeseed oil
** Again, I used Grapeseed oil
*** I used two large oranges, one for the zest and then both for the juice
**** I used sriracha
***** I did not use vegan mayo, that’s a personal choice