Cauliflower with Nam Pla Minnow

October 7, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Nam Pla Minnow (fish sauce and lime) is a sauce that flavors Thai home cooking-- from fried egg to a shredded green papaya salad. This recipe is part Momofuku (his roasted brussel sprouts), and part my own creation. - edamame2003edamame2003

Food52 Review: We loved the contrasting flavors and vibrancy of this Thai-inspired cauliflower dish, whose garlicky fish sauce and lime juice dressing really packs a punch. Don't worry if the panko falls off the cauliflower while cooking; think of them more as a breadcrumb topping rather than a batter. We added our dressing to the cauliflower while it was still in the pan, which helped mellow its assertiveness, but you can add it in the serving bowl as well. – LaurenThe Editors

Serves: 2 or 4 as an appetizer


Nam Pla Minnow

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 bird chili peppers (seeds removed)
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (minnow)
  • 1/8 cup fish sauce (nam pla)


  • 1 cauliflower head (cut into florets)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
In This Recipe


  1. Drop cauliflower in boiling water for 30 seconds and remove. Drain and let cool.
  2. Thinly coat the cauliflower with flour/black pepper, then through the beaten egg and dredge through the panko.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and brown the cauliflower--about 8 minutes (until browned and crispy). Remove and set aside.
  4. For the sauce:
  5. In a mortar, pound the birds eye chili, garlic and palm sugar, until a paste-like texture.
  6. Add fish sauce and lime juice and dissolve the chili, garlic, sugar mixture.
  7. Toss the cauliflower with the sauce.
  8. Garnish with cilantro.

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