Sweet & Sour Cauliflowers
What’s your favourite takeout food? I’ll take anything that is sweet and tangy, and preferably fried.
Inspired by a (westernised) version of a Cantonese dish that may be found on the menu of Chinese restaurants all over the world, this is my vegan version made with extra-crunchy cauliflower bites, large pineapple and pepper chunks and a sticky sweet and sour sauce.
I wanted to make it slightly healthier, so instead of deep-frying the cauliflowers all the way, I gave them a quick fry to make them golden and crunchy, but then I completed the cooking in the oven. You have both options below.
To Make My Sweet & Sour Cauliflowers:
Cut 1 head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Set aside.
Make a thick batter using 1 cup plain flour, 1/3 cup starch (I used tapioca), 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 cup water, 1 tbsp grated ginger and garlic, 1 tsp black pepper, salt to taste.
Heat enough frying oil to submerge the florets to 160C temperature. Dip the florets into the batter and fry them in small batches. You can fry all the way through until they are fork-tender but they still have a bite. Or you can do as I did, and just fry until they are slightly golden on the outside, then drain on kitchen paper and transfer to a baking tray and in the oven at 220C for 10 minutes.
Next, make the sweet and sour sauce. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and add 3-4 minced garlic cloves, 1tsp grated ginger, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1tsp brown sugar and salt to taste. Increase the flame momentarily until the sauce is slightly reduced.
Chop to big chunks: 1 medium red onion, 1 green capsicum, 1 red capsicum, 1 3cm-thick slice of pineapple. Add them to the wok and lower the flame to medium.
Make a thin slurry by mixing 1 tsp of starch to 3-4 tbsp of water. When the veggies are nearly cooked, add the slurry along with 2 tbsp of chilli sauce, 1 tbsp of tomato paste (mainly for colour), and the cauliflowers.
Mix everything really well to make sure they are coated nicely and cook for another minute. Garnish with chopped spring onions before serving.
Goes great on its own for a low-carb dinner, or with rice for a more substantial meal.