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Author Notes: Besides the recent revival in reputation, the cauliflower has been left alone unbothered for a long time. I grew up eating it on the regular as Aloo Gobhi a traditional Indian dish where the vegetable is cooked with potatoes and spices, also from the Indian-Chinese side of foods, the Gobhi Manchurian was a staple for us when we went out for Chinese night as kids! Delicious! And today I felt inspired by that memory and I wanted to give it a new life.
When you bite into the cauliflower you'll be surprised to hear some serious crunch and then you taste the fresh ginger, the sweet and spicy sauce with tender cauliflower emerging from within becoming the closing notes of this memorable experience. —Nomaste
piece head of Cauliflower (washed, stemmed and cut into equal medium-sized florets)
fresh Ginger root (peeled and sliced thin)
piece bell pepper chopped fine (any color you like)
sprigs fresh scallions chopped fine plus some for garnish
cups boiling water
cups Oil for deep frying
Ice bath for cauliflower
cups Tempura Batter
cup Store-bought sweet chili sauce (I bought mine at Trader Joes)
cup Soy Sauce (reduced sodium is what I used)
shots Rice Wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
tablespoons vegetable oil
- In a large pot (or if you have a fryer get that ready with enough oil to deep fry per the manufacturer recommendations) heat enough oil to fry the cauliflower on medium high heat. The oil should be enough to barely submerge and coat each floret.
- Bring water to boil in large and deep pot. Blanch the cauliflower florets for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Get the Tempura batter ready as per the recipe and add the black pepper, salt and ginger powder to it. Set aside. When the oil is hot enough to fry (360 degrees measured with a cooking thermometer preferably) or just drop a wooden chopstick in the oil, and if it starts to bubble you're ready.
- Pat dry the florets well with paper towel and dredge them in some flour to make sure the batter sticks evenly. Dip the florets in the batter and carefully drop them in the hot oil. Fry in small batches of 8-10 florets per session to make sure that the oil temperature doesn't drop too low and also that the pan doesn't get too crowded.
- Let it go for 2 minutes and flip and fry for another minute or 2, or till you have pale golden color florets. Set aside in a dish lined with paper towel to soak up excess oil. Repeat with other florets.
- Turn the heat on the pot with the oil to as low as your stove will go, to keep the oil warm for our next fry session. If you prefer you can turn it off for safety.
- In another pan heat up 2 tbsp of oil on medium high heat, and when the oil is hot enough, add the veggies—the scallions the ginger and bell pepper. Stir fry quickly for 2 minutes and add the soy sauce, the rice wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Stir it around for another 30 seconds and add the sweet chili sauce. Stir fry for a minute. The sauce is ready. Turn off the flame and set aside.
- Now bring up the heat on the oil again, for our quick second fry session for the cauliflower, turn it up to high. You want the oil to be around 360 degrees or higher. But no more that 375.
- One by one add the florets back in and they should immediately be bubbling and sizzling. I recommend frying around 8-10 per session to give them ample room. Fry for 1-2 minutes per side, or till you have caramel like golden brown color. Remove the florets into a bowl/dish lined with paper towel.
- Repeat with other florets. When done turn off the stove and cover the oil safely. It's work is done.
- Final step, in a big mixing bowl, transfer the florets and pour the sauce over them evenly and gently fold them over, making sure every single floret is dredged with the sauce. Salivate.