Kung Pao Cauliflower – Vegan & Gluten-Free

I have been obsessed with Jennifer Bain’s recipe for Kung Pao Cauliflower ever since I first read the article in The Toronto Star.  OBSESSED.  I’m almost ashamed to admit how many times I’ve already made it.  

Kung Pao Cauliflower - Dish  

In my quest to get the cauliflower super crispy, I’ve made a few changes to the recipe, so I’m going to share my tweaked version, but seriously – try either of these recipes!  This stuff is insanely good. 

Kung Pao Cauliflower - Peppercorns

To start, you are going to need some Sichuan peppercorns (1 teaspoon to be exact.)  Try and remove all of the little stems.  I do this by rubbing the peppercorns with some clean kitchen towels.  Most of the stems will come off and then transfer the peppercorns to a small skillet to toast.  I never seem to get all of those little stems, but I’m OK with that.

Kung Pao Cauliflower - Toasting Pepper

Toast the peppercorns for a couple of minutes over medium heat, until they become fragrant.  Then move them to a mortal and pestle or a clean coffee grinder and grind them up. 

Kung Pao Cauliflower - Grinding Pepper

Now for the sauce.  In a small jar, mix together:

– ¼ cup soy sauce (I use gluten-free)
– ¼ cup water
– ½ tbsp cornstarch
– 2 tbsp brown sugar
– 2 tbsp Sambal Oelek
– 1 tbsp rice vinegar
– ½ tsp of your freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns


Kung Pao Cauliflower - Sauce Top

Kung Pao Cauliflower - Sauce Side

In a small sauce pan, saute 2 cloves of minced garlic and a thumb sized piece of ginger in some oil over medium heat.  I always keep a supply of pureed ginger in my freezer, but you can also grate up some fresh ginger.  Once the ginger and garlic just start to turn golden, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and give it a good stir.  Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until it gets nice and thick and glossy (about 3-5 minutes) and set aside.

Kung Pao Cauliflower - Cauliflower

Cut half a head of cauliflower into medium sized florets.  In a large ziplock bag, combine:

– 2 tbsp oil

– 1 tbsp corn starch

– ½ tsp Sichuan peppercorn

Mix these up and add the cauliflower florets.  Close the ziplock bag and shake to coat all of those florets with the mixture.

Kung Pao Cauliflower - In Bag

Bake on a large sheet pan at 475 for about 15-20 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they are golden and crispy.  Toss with a couple of spoonfuls of the Kung Pao sauce (more if you like it saucy) and serve immediately.  

Kung Pao Cauliflower - Dish with Chopsticks  

Like the original recipe, I like to garnish these with some cilantro and sliced red chiles because it looks so pretty.  You can also add some chopped, roast cashews for extra crunch.

Kung Pao Cauliflower - Dish Up Close

Welcome to my Kung Pao Cauliflower obsession!  

Kung Pao Cauliflower
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Kung Pao Sauce
  1. ¼ cup soy sauce
  2. ¼ cup water
  3. ½ tbsp cornstarch
  4. 2 tbsp brown sugar
  5. 2 tbsp Sambal Oelek
  6. 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  7. Thumb sized piece of ginger, blended or grated
  8. 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced
  9. ½ tsp Sichuan peppercorn, toasted and ground
  1. ½ head cauliflower, cut into florets
  2. 1 tbsp corn starch,
  3. 2 tbsp oil
  4. ½ tsp Sichuan peppercorn, toasted and ground
To prepare the Sichuan peppercorn
  1. Remove small stems from Sichuan peppercorn
  2. Toast peppercorn in a small pan until fragrant
  3. Grind and set aside
For the Kung Pao sauce
  1. - Combine all ingredients, except ginger and garlic, in a small jar and shake to combine
  2. - In a small sauce pan, saute ginger and garlic in oil for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until they start to turn golden
  3. - Add remaining sauce ingredients and stir
  4. - Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened
  5. - Set aside
For the cauliflower
  1. - In a large ziplock bag, combine oil, cornstarch and peppercorn
  2. - Add cauliflower, close bag and shake to combine
  3. - Place cauliflower on a large sheet pan and bake for 15-20 minutes at 475, tossing occasionally
  4. - Toss roast cauliflower with 2 tbsp of Kung Pao sauce (or to taste) and serve immediately
  1. - Garnish with cilantro, red chiles and chopped, roast cashew
Adapted from Jennifer Bain (@thesaucylady)
This Fox Cooks http://www.thisfoxcooks.com/

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