Kung Pao Cauliflower

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Since starting my blog another benefit I have discovered is seeing other people’s food blogs too! There are a few I follow regulary and this recipe stuck out immediately and I have been wanting to try it for a while. I love spicy Szechuan food and I am a big fan of cauliflower and am trying to eat more veg at the moment, I thought this would be a nice healthy tea (although it isnt quite as healthy as I thought!!! but could be adapted to be if you leave out the frying.)

I added a few things and changed the process slightly from this recipe here –  Kung Po Cauliflower and the author kindly agreed for me to include it in my blog.

Some people will think “where is the meat” but this is a really filling dish and you will not be left hungry! One medium cauliflower will feed 2 people so it is also a very thrify recipe!

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets,  1½-2 cm each
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 – 2 red chillies, seeds in, finely chopped – depending on how hot you like it!
2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 whole spring onions, sliced
50g unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
50 g cornflour
1/2 teaspoon of szechuan peppercorns

1 green pepper diced very finely.

Cooking Oil

125 ml Groundnut oil
2 star anise
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Marinade

100 ml light soy sauce
50 ml Chinese rice wine (use sake or dry sherry if not available)
1 tbsp maple syrup ( I used Fruit Syrup Sweetner)

Make the cooking oil by placing a wok over a high heat and adding the oil. When it is hot add the star anise, Szechuan peppercorns and the chilli flakes and stir . cook for thirty seconds then remove from the heat. Sir in the sesame oil and leave to cool then strain over a fine sieve.

Par boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes in salted water and then leave to cool and pat dry.

To make the marinade mix together the soy sauce, rice wine and syrup. Add the dry cauliflower to the marinade and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Put another half a teaspoon of sezchuan pepercorns in a dry pan and toast for around 30 minutes until fragrant and then cook and bash in a pestle and mortar but leave quite coarse. Set aside for later.

Re-heat the wok over a high heat and pour in half of the prepared oil. When it is hot, lift out the cauliflower florets from the marinade and roll them one by one in cornflour until they are fully coated. Make sure you keep the leftover marinade to one side as this will make your sauce.

Fry the florets in the oil , stirring and turning  until they are evenly browned and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Do this in batches or the florets will all stick together and go soggy instead of crisp as the oil temeprature will go too low. Add a little more oil between batches if required, but make sure you save 2 tablespoons. Place the cauliflower florets on kitchen towel to soak up the excess oil.

Clean the wok and then add the rest of the oil. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and green peppers and stir fry for 30 seconds over a high heat then add the chopped spring onion and the toasted and bashed szechuan peppercorns.

Fry for a few minutes and then add the crispy cauliflower pices, peanuts and most of the coriander, fry for 30 seconds then add the left over marinade. Cook for one minute tossing the wok to make sure that the cauliflower is coated with sauce.

Serve with boiled rice and garnsh with the rest of the corriander.

Dont be alarmed if your tongue feels a bit numb! This is the Szechuan peppercorns!

Be carefull not to over season with salt (as I did) as the soy sauce in the marinade is salty enough!

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