Have you ever tired cauliflower wings? It's the vegetarian version of a chicken wing; they're sticky and salty, and are 100% not good for you, but oh man are they delicious.
This recipe is like a healthier version of cauliflower wings. After being battered and baked the cauliflower florets become very light and tender, with delightful crispy bits around the edges. They're then tossed in a sticky, salty, sweet sesame sauce, baked a little more and finished with green onion and sesame seeds. MMMmmm.
I'm pretty sure you could make this recipe in stages, stopping after the cauliflower is baked but keeping them at room temp. Then when you're ready, toss them in the sauce and finish in the oven, getting them back up to temperature. I think they would make an awesome cocktail party snack. Oh and they also happen to be vegan.
Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water plus more as needed
1 small head of cauliflower cut into florets (scant 4 cups of florets)
2 and 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil divided
1/2 inch ginger minced or grated
2-3 cloves garlic (to taste), minced or grated
2 Tbsp honey
2 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili paste like sriracha
toasted sesame seeds for serving
chopped green onions for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, garlic powder, and salt. Add 1 cup of water and stir. Continue adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until a pancake batter-esque consistency is reached. You want batter that is thick enough to stay on a cauliflower floret but thin enough that you can easily shake off the excess. It usually takes about 2 extra Tbsp.
One by one, dip the cauliflower florets into the batter, gently shake off extra batter, and place them onto the baking sheet. Leave plenty of space between florets on the baking sheet so that they can get crispy. You may not be able to quite fit a whole head of cauliflower on two baking sheets.
Bake the battered cauliflower for 20 minutes, rotate the position of the trays, and then bake for another 5-10 more minutes or until crispy and browned.
Meanwhile, heat two teaspoons of the sesame oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and ginger and saute over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 60-90 seconds, or until the garlic and ginger are softened and fragrant.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir well. Continue cooking on medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and thickened slightly. Turn the heat to low and leave on the burner, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Stir in the remaining sesame oil just before mixing with the cauliflower.