Skip the takeout and whip up a vegetarian spin on the fastest, freshest recipe for Easy General Tso’s Cauliflower.
How Do You Make General Tso’s Cauliflower
When it comes to popular takeout dishes, it doesn’t get much better than General Tso’s, and specifically the sweet, tangy and oh-so-sticky sauce that makes it a fan favorite.
My easy General Tso’s Chicken recipe has been such a hit (hello, all 5-star reviews!), I knew a vegetarian take was essential. So how does one turn a humble vegetable like cauliflower into a rockstar takeout-fakeout meal? With the below lineup of ingredients!
A few pantry staples is all you need, plus my tips to ensure stir-fry success. And it all begins with coating the cauliflower in a simple mixture to ensure that essential crispy crust, which makes it the perfect sponge for the ultimate General Tso’s sauce.
Can You Bake General Tso’s Cauliflower
I’ve tried this recipe with both a baked and stir-fried cooking technique, and while baked may be a bit on the healthier side, you absolutely cannot beat the taste and texture of the stir-fried classic.
In order to prevent the coated cauliflower from soaking up too much oil (and losing its crisp texture), it’s important the oil is hot enough to quickly flash-fry the veggies. Test a single floret in the oil before adding a big batch. The cauliflower should bubble immediately once it hits the oil.
What Do You Serve with General Tso’s Cauliflower
When it comes to this vegetarian version of General Tso’s, you can enjoy it either as a meat-free main dish or as a side dish for a takeout-fakeout feast. Rice, noodles and veggie rice (yes, more veggies!) are all great options because they will all soak up that oh-so-addicting sauce.
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For the cauliflower:
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups cauliflower florets
- Vegetable oil, for frying
For the sauce:
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup dried whole chilies
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- Sliced scallions, for garnishing
Make the cauliflower:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and flour with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Add the cauliflower pieces to the bowl, tossing to coat.
- Add 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil to a large heavy-bottomed stockpot set over medium-high heat. Line a plate with paper towels.
- Once the oil is hot, shake off any excess flour mixture from the cauliflower pieces and add them to the oil in batches. (See Note.)
- Cook the cauliflower in batches, turning as needed, until they golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked cauliflower to the paper towel-lined plate then make the sauce.
Make the sauce:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and soy sauce to make a slurry. Set the slurry aside.
- Add the vegetable to a large saucepan set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chilies, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is golden brown, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the rice wine vinegar, hoisin, brown sugar, vegetable stock and sesame oil.
- Stir in the slurry, bring the sauce to a simmer and cook it until it thickens to the consistency of syrup, about 1 minute.
- Return the cauliflower to the pan and stir to coat then serve.
- You can test if the oil is hot enough by adding one piece of the cauliflower to the pan. If it bubbles and floats, the oil is the correct temperature.
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