(v) Sweet and Sour Cauliflower

During my formative years my parents would take me along with them when celebrating their anniversary. They would frequent one of two places: a local upscale Chinese restaurant or a Steakhouse that sat on the harbor. I had my go-to orders at both, Sweet and Sour Pork being my pick at the former. As I grew older and opted to make wiser choices, I dove in to trends like “Meatless Monday.” I took the opportunity to play around with creating veggie versions of some of my favorite dishes, and have been very happy with the results.

1 Head of Cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets (should yield about 6 cups)
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1/2 Cup Corn Starch
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar
1/4 Sup Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1/2t Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup of Ketchup
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons Cold Water
1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Scallion, as garnish
1 Tablespoon White Sesame Seeds, as garnish
Serve with prepared white rice


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a standard sheet pan with foil and lightly grease.
  2. Combine cauliflower florets and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large resealable bag, seal and shake until well coated. Add cornstarch, salt and pepper, seal and shake.
  3. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the cauliflower and fry, tossing to cook on all sides, for about 5 minutes. Transfer fried cauliflower to sheet pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cauliflower starts to get crispy.
  4. While the cauliflower bakes prepare the sauce: add sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, and ketchup to a medium sauce pan and stir over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together corn starch and cold water until fully dissolved. Add slurry to sauce pan, reduce heat to low, and stir until thickened.
  5. Transfer roasted cauliflower to a large bowl and combine with half of the sauce, to start.
  6. Toss until cauliflower is well coated, add remaining sauce and toss. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
  7. Serve with rice.

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