Jazzed up, pan-fried cauliflower stands in for deep fried chicken in this twist on General Tsao's go-to classic. —INGRAIN, Winter/Spring 2020
With cauliflower as the stand-in for chicken and a quick panfry, General Tsao enters the modern cooking era. And don’t worry: our dipping sauce is still loaded with all of those loud umami flavors that made the dish a classic. Blanch a handful of Asian greens (bok choy, tatsoi) and fire up the rice cooker to finish the meal.
Pairing So-Lo (Goose Island)
1 medium head cauliflower
¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1¼ cups panko (or other bread crumbs)
To serve: sesame seeds + dipping sauce (ingredients + recipe below)
1 medium head cauliflower into florets. Mix ¾ cup flour + 1 teaspoon garlic powder + 1 teaspoon kosher salt + 1 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl. Whisk in ¾ cup water and add more water if needed; mixture should resemble pancake batter.
1¼ cups panko (or other breadcrumbs) on a large plate. Heat a large, heavy (cast-iron or similar) skillet over medium-high heat and add enough vegetable oil to come about 1 inch up the sides.
Cauliflower florets in batter, then in panko crumbs (in batches; coat just enough to fry). Heat the oil over medium-high heat and fry the cauliflower in batches until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place on paper towels and repeat with remaining cauliflower.
1 tablespoon sesame seeds over cauliflower and serve immediately, or keep warm in a 250°F oven while you prep your sides. Serve with Dipping Sauce.
Makes about ⅔ cup
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (or 2 tablespoons soy sauce + 2 tablespoons brown sugar)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
2 teaspoons cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan.
3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (or 2 tablespoons soy sauce + 2 tablespoons brown sugar) + 2 tablespoons rice vinegar + 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce + 2 teaspoons sesame oil + 1 tablespoon ginger (minced) + ½ cup water into the saucepan with the cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate for up to 5 days; rewarm before using.