Dear Reader, am I about to showcase another cauliflower recipe? Yes, I most certainly am! Now, you might recognize a few similarities in this recipe with those of my previous cauliflower recipes, but there’s a reason – trust me! Since I’m such an advocate for using cauliflower rather than chicken for dishes such as this, or as a substitute for mashed potatoes, for instance, I want to show you how a change in a few ingredients can make a whole new recipe!
This particular recipe is very similar to my Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce. In fact, the same cooking methods are applied, but by switching up the ingredients just a little, I was able to get a very citrusy, sweet, salty sauce to accompany the crispy-coated fried cauliflower. With recipes such as this one, I’m able to enjoy some of the foods that I love while satisfying the vegetarian in my life. You see, whenever I visit a Chinese buffet, which is where you can find that gloriously delicious orange chicken, I’d load up on it! I’ve found that I can achieve the same tastes at home, satisfy my cravings, and at the same time, eat a little healthier. And I’ve recently learned that cauliflower can easily be the substitute for meat in most Asian dishes! Yay!!
Now, if vegetarianism is not your thing, or you would just rather make this dish with chicken, simply follow the same procedure and you’ll get the same results. But, be warned, your wallet will not be as heavy, since chicken is more expensive than cauliflower! – At least it is for now!
Here’s an interesting little tidbit of information for you: In the Chinese culture, the dish is usually known as “old peel chicken,” referring to the traditional use of dried orange or tangerine peel in the recipe. Westerners, however, use fresh orange peel instead. I think I may stay away from the traditional name, as there is nothing appealing about the use of “old peel!” 🙂
- 1 medium-sized cauliflower, cut into florets
- ⅔ cup water
- ⅓ cup cornstarch, plus 1 teaspoon
- ⅓ cup flour
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup green onions, sliced
- 1 orange, zest only
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- ¼ cup orange juice (from zested orange)
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- Vegetable Oil for frying
- In a bowl, whisk together the water, ⅓ cup of corn starch, the flour, the sesame seeds, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, minced garlic, green onions, orange zest and juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a slight boil.
- Stir 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 1 tablespoon of water until dissolved. Whisk into the sauce and reduce heat to a very lower simmer.
- Next, heat the vegetable oil in a deep pot to 375 degrees. (You can also use a deep fryer if you have one.)
- Coat each cauliflower floret in the flour mixture.
- Carefully place each floret into the hot oil. Fry each piece until golden brown - about 3 minutes. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet.
- 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!
- Lastly, plate the cauliflower and spoon the thick, hot sauce over top. Garnish with some sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions. Serve immediately.