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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!

Asian Orange Sesame Cauliflower

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!!

Asian Orange Sesame Cauliflower

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!”  🙂

Asian Orange Sesame Cauliflower

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4.09 from 46 votes

Asian Orange Sesame Cauliflower

Course Main Course
Cuisine North American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 271kcal
Author Lord Byron's Kitchen


  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1 large orange, zest only
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, from zested orange
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • vegetable Oil for frying


  • In a bowl, whisk together the water, 1/3 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.


If serving as a main, this dish will serve 4 people.


Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 737mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 111.5mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 2.4mg


Asian Orange Sesame Cauliflower

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This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Your cauliflower dishes always look amazing. I think you're my new go-to person for vegetarian Asian inspired foods now. Not that I ever had a person to begin with, but now you're my person.
  2. I often cook like this and tweak things a little, such a great way of cooking and learning... This looks delicious by the way, I've never tried Cauliflower in an orange based sauce and really must!
  3. I have loved every single one of your vegetarian Asian inspired cauliflower recipes I've made, and I'm sure this one would be a hit too! Putting on the list to make at some point!
  4. This looks you think it would work to bake the cauliflower....never been a fan of deep frying (only cause man that makes a huge mess)...just curious what you thought. I might try it baked. I've recently turned vegan and finding myself eating more and more cauliflower and this recipe is a must try for me. Thanks
    1. I've never tried baking it, so I really can't say. If you do bake it, please let me know how it turns out. :)
  5. I baked. I added one more tbsp of oil into the batter. Turned out great. I also added some Chinese wine and sriracha to the sauce.
  6. The overall flavor is there and I love the idea! The problem is there is no where near enough sauce or batter for a large cauliflower. I ended up using about half a head of cauliflower one with the amount of batter I had. I used up the sauce but wished it was doubled. The sauce has very good flavor but I think a little sprinkling of salt on the cauliflower after coming out of the fryer goes a long way! In short, use half a head of cauliflower, double the sauce, sprinkle the cauliflower with salt after your fry it!
  7. This was amazing! Definitely not a healthy version of cauliflower, but I'd sneak it in here and there! I doubled all the sauces, as suggested by another reviewer, which was definitely necessary. Thanks for sharing!
  8. This receipe is fantastic! I had put it on my meal plan for the week, but was having second thoughts about it even as I was shopping for the ingredients. I'm not a huge fan of cauliflower, but I love orange chicken. I decided to stick with the plan, though, and am so glad I did. The cauliflower was crispy delicious and the sauce was amazing. This is going to be a recipe we keep coming back to. This is my first time to visit your site and will definitely be trying other recipes.
    1. Thank you, Kimberly. I'm glad you found me and I do hope you try more of my recipes. Thank you for your kind words. :)
  9. This post was inspiration for the large orange cauliflower in our refrigerator. We needed to increase the batter by half. The florets were salted after frying. The fried cauliflower was then added to a hot oiled skillet to re-crisp before covering with the orange sauce. When tasting the sauce before pouring, we decided to add a tablespoon of honey. It was delicious. There were zero leftovers. Recommending to friends. Thank you!
    1. Hi Emily, I have just updated the serving size. As a main, this would serve 4 people, but as a side dish, I would assume 8-10 servings.
  10. All four of us loved this recipe. Used chicken with the sauce for my carnivorous daughter and myself, the cauliflower for my vegetarian daughter and my S.O. Will definitely do again and again.

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