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Oh, my love for cauliflower grows leaps and bounds every time I cook with it!  There’s none such vegetable so versatile and adaptable to almost any cooking method you want to put to use, or any flavour your want to infuse it with.  It has such a mild flavour on it own, it can easily pick up the flavours of the other ingredients you use in the cooking process.  Take this dish, for instance!  The flavours of the fresh ginger and garlic, and the aroma of the sesame oil, really shine through in this dish.

Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce

I must confess, this is basically a General Tso’s Chicken recipe that has been converted to a vegetarian option using cauliflower rather than chicken.  I could have named the dish General Tso’s Cauliflower, but I can’t say it.  I’m serious… I know how to say it, but whenever I do, it wants to come out of my mouth with a strong pronunciation of the letter T.

Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce

In addition to that, I wanted to distance myself from Tso since it really has no merit!  The dish is named after General Tso Tsung-tang, a Qing Dynasty general and statesman, although there is no recorded connection to him.  Moreover, descendants of General Tso still living in Xiangyin, when interviewed, say that they have never heard of such a dish.  I digress.

Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce

As you can see from the pictures I’ve included, the batter for this fried cauliflower is quite light.  The batter is thick enough to provide a crispy coating and to protect the delicate nature of the vegetable itself.  If you were to deep fry cauliflower without a coating, you risk overcooking it and it falling to pieces.  Oh, and the addition of the sesame seeds to the batter adds such a wonderful texture to the already crunchy coating!

Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce

5.0 from 7 reviews
Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2¼ cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces, plus sliced onions for garnish
  • Vegetable or Canola Oil
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch, the baking soda, salt, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, black pepper, 1¼ cup of water, and ¾ cup of flour. Mix together well.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets and toss to coat.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of flour and the sesame seeds over the coated cauliflower. Lightly toss to coat. Set aside.
  4. In a small sauce pan, bring to a slight bubble, the following ingredients: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, grated ginger, minced garlic, dried chili flakes, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and one cup of water. Stir well.
  5. When the mixture comes to a slight boil, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of water and mix well, add that mixture to the sauce pan. Next, toss in the green onions and stir to combine. Reduce to a simmer and allow to thicken.
  6. In the meantime, heat the vegetable oil in a deep pot to 375 degrees. (You can also use a deep fryer if you have one.)
  7. Carefully place the coated cauliflower florets into the hot oil. Fry each piece until golden brown - about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  8. Once all of the pieces are fried, increase the temperature of the oil to 385 degrees and re-fry the nuggets of cauliflower for another 30-60 seconds. This will provide a deeper colour and a better crunch. This step is completely optional!
  9. Lastly, plate the cauliflower and spoon the thick, hot sauce over top. Garnish with the sliced green onions and a few sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

EDIT: I love it when another blogger replicates or makes their own version of a recipe inspired by one of my recipes.  My awesome blogger friend, Whitney, did a take on this recipe with shrimp.  You should take a look at it too!  Here’s the link: Quick & Easy Spicy Pineapple Shrimp


Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce

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This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Wow, this really has taken cauliflower to another level. I love to use it as a substitute for mashed potatoes and in curries, but never thought to do an Asian dish like this! If you didn’t tell me it was cauliflower, I would have thought it was battered chicken from the photos. Great idea and recipe! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Ramona! I’ve been on a cauliflower kick and I’ve been experimenting with different ways of using it as a meat substitute. It’s amazing how versatile it can be!

  2. Ah Byron you have excelled your self again, this dish looks awesome… The batter sounds great and I love caulflower, especially at this time of year when vegetables are pretty few and far between.

    1. Thanks, Brian. Vegetables are plentiful for me (I have a grocery store right next door!), but I can completely understand there not being many in your neck of the woods. When your harvest is ready next fall, you’ll have to make some of this!

      1. Haha, we do have grocery stores although not next door… Most of the local stores sell seasonal goods but we can pretty much get anything we want if we shop a little further from home. Although there is little point in us making a lifestyle decision to grow what you eat and then when Mother Nature takes a break we run to the local big supermarket 😉

        This time of year our vegetable consumption is what ever we can store for winter, so potatos pumpkins, Onions, Carrots etc etc… Although Cauliflower and Sprouts are still hanging on out there in the garden 😀

  3. UGH These are making my mouth water! I’m in love with the versatility of cauliflower too — I have got to get some and try this recipe — I’ve never fried it, but you know I love some fried food — and since its a vegetable, there’s not as much guilt! 😉

  4. Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce i like it i want to try at home and thank you for sharing 🙂 i sure my son very like 🙂 thank you success for you

  5. If only the cauliflower at the store didn’t look so sketchy today. :-/ I’m trying lots of new veggie recipes right now, and I think my husband would go for this one because we love this flavor profile… and you know, fried food is comforting when it’s chilly and grey!

    1. Nothing worse than sketchy cauliflower! I’ve been there. I once saw cauliflower wearing a his pants too low, had a bandana on, and I could see the key to his Harley hanging from his belt loop. It was far to sketchy for me. I had to go to another store. 😉

  6. This recipe looks amazing! I have a huge ginger root and some tofu and wanted to try a nice ginger sauce, so I’m def going to use this one tomorrow! Next time I’ll try with cauliflower. Loved your recipe 🙂

  7. I made this last night to go alon with our fried rice and pineapple chicken, and it was delicious! I didn’t add quite as much red pepper flakes as it called for because my young children don’t like spicy food, but I left enough that there was still a hint of spice.
    The sauce was delicious (I kept sneaking more near the end to dip the fried cauliflower in). This is definitely going to become a staple for when we make Chinese food!

    1. That’s great, Tracey! Thank you for dropping by to share your thoughts. I love hearing from readers. 🙂 I’m with you on the sauce – it was delish!

    1. Hi Erica… I served it with a few other sides, and I was able to get 4 servings from one head of cauliflower. It’s great with sautéed green beans!

  8. Hey I made this recipe and it was extreeeemly salty for some reason. I am positive i followed the recipe but I think there may be a problem with the batter recipe. Also, the batter had to be watered down because it was too thick. I think perhaps the baking soda added some saltiness. I suggest adding 1-2 teaspoons of salt and baking soda instead of 2 whole tablespoons of each.

    1. Hi Jake. I think you mis-read the recipe. The recipe states 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. If you used “2 whole tablespoons of each” then that would certainly explain the saltiness.

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