Indian-Chinese Sweet and Spicy Fried Cauliflower
This dish is a spicy trip through India by way of China.
Yield: serves 4
- 12 cloves garlic
- 4 (2") pieces peeled fresh ginger (3 cut into thin coins, 1 julienned)
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
- Kosher salt
- 2⁄3 cup cornstarch
- 2⁄3 cup flour
- 1 tsp. red chile powder
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 2 tsp. plus 3 tbsp. soy sauce
- Peanut oil for frying
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 8-10 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 cup ketchup
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Cilantro leaves
- Purée garlic, ginger coins, and 1⁄3 cup water in blender; set aside. Boil cauliflower in a pot of salted water until tender, 6–7 minutes; drain.
- Whisk together cornstarch, flour, chile powder, 1⁄2 tsp. salt, and 1⁄4 tsp. pepper in a bowl. Stir in half the garlic paste, 2 tsp. soy sauce, and 3⁄4 cup water to make a batter. Pour oil into a large deep skillet to a depth of 1"; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, dip cauliflower in batter; fry until golden, 5–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Drain all but about 6 tbsp. of the oil. Add onions; cook for 3–4 minutes. Add chiles and remaining garlic paste; cook until paste is lightly browned, 3–4 minutes. Add ketchup, remaining soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1⁄3 cup water. Boil; lower heat to medium-low; simmer until thick, 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; toss cauliflower in sauce. Garnish with remaining ginger, scallions, and cilantro. Serve with white rice, if you like.