Kung Pao Cauliflower made with oven roasted cauliflower tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce along with colorful peppers, zucchini, and crunchy peanuts! Great side dish to go with rice or noodles.
If you are looking a vegetarian version of Kung Pao is with Cauliflower and other veggies. Cauliflower goes well with the sauce and creates an excellent side dish.
Roasting the cauliflower in the oven makes it easy to cook . Comparted that in a skillet on stove top with contant stirring to prevent them from burning.
History behind the Kung Pao?
Kung Pao originated from Chinese word gōng bǎo. Itwas frequently served to Dīng Bǎozhēn (1820-86), a Qing (Ching) dynasty official who served as the governor of Sichuan province (1876-86); his unofficial title was gōng bǎo.
What are different version of Kung Pao ?
There are three version of Kung Pao: one is Sichuan version which use Sichuan peppercorns.
Then there is Guizhou version which uses chiba a fermented chili paste, and finally a western version which we get here.
This recipe is adapted from Pioneer women’s cookbook.
Traditionally this recipe is made with chicken, however I have made with vegetables. This is a vegetarian dish
How to make Kung Pao Cauliflower ?
Cauliflower : cut them into tiny florets, I didn’t do that, it may help to coat the marinade easily.
Other vegetables : include zucchini, red and green bell pepper, and green onion.
Marinade : includes, Soy sauce, sambal oelek , rice vinegar, honey, garlic cloves, ginger, sesame seed oil and lime juice
Peanuts : I used roasted unsalted peanuts . Traditionally it is made by first roasting the peanuts in the skillet with oil , then rest of the ingredients are added.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch slurry is needed to thicken the sauce.
Oil : Peanut oil is used for stir-fry and sesame oil and canola oil for roasting the cauliflower. ( Use less quantity of sesame seed oil and rest canola or olive oil for roasting the cauliflower )
Chili : You need whole chili pepper to make this, make sure not to break them as it can increase the spiciness.
Tips for excellent Kung Pao Cauliflower ?
- First Cut florets into small pieces
2) You can either roast cauliflower in the oven if you don’t want to baby sit them. use hot skillet and stir fry cauliflower if you are using stove top.
In order to keep the crunch of cauliflower so cooked for about 450°F for 15 minutes, if you want you can roast up to 20 minutes to get extra roasting.
3) Sprinkling corn starch with cauliflower along with oil, salt and pepper gives extra crispiness.
4) After cooking the rest of the of the vegetables you can add sauce.
5) Make sure to coat the marinade well and cook with it.
6) If you are using roasted peanuts you can add in the end of cooking.
7) Use maple syrup for vegan version.
8) If you want you can entirely skip the skillet and use oven to finish the cooking. You need to roast the cauliflower then add sauce. Roast again for 15-20 minutes to complete cooking.
9) If you want stickier kung pao cauliflower. First coat cauliflower with cornstarch, then pan fry or deep fry. Then add sauce add cornstarch slurry to thicken .
How to store the leftovers?
This vegetarian version of kung pao cauliflower is delicious, even meat eaters will love it, the sauce is good.
It delicious as fresh. You can store the leftovers in air tighter container and refrigerated for up to 3 days . Or reheat in a 350°F (176 C) oven until warm. Not freezer friendly.
For roasting cauliflower, olive oil, salt and pepper
For Sauce, Soy sauce, sambal oelek, maple syrup, lime juice, rice vinegar, seasme seed oil, ginger, garlic
Sauce is ready
Vegetables zucchini, red and green bell pepper, red chili,
After adding sauce and cornstarch slurry
peanuts and green onions
Similar recipe I have tried using tofu.
Looking for more cauliflower recipes?
If you try this recipe tag me nidhinikhil on Instagram or Zestysouthindiankitchen on Facebook
Kung Pao Cauliflower
- For roasting
- 1 head cauliflower stem removed cut into small florets
- 2 tablespoon canola/ Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch * optional it will nice if you want crispy cauliflower
- For sauce
- ¼ cup sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ½ tablespoon chili paste/ Sambal oelek
- 1 teaspoon honey/ maple syrup
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 inch ginger minced
- Stir fry
- Roasted cauliflower
- 2 tablespoon peanut oil
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- 3 green onions sliced
- ¼ cup peanuts
- Roasting of cauliflower
- IF using oven
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) . Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or foil
- Wash cauliflower and pat dry. You can either mix everything in a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower with the oil and salt to coat or directly add salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle in the cornstarch and toss again to coat(optional, but gives crispy cauliflower )
- Arrange the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet(s) in a single layer, allowing space between the florets to encourage crispiness. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until lightly browned and slightly crispy on the edges.
- Prepare the sauce in the large mixing bowl. Whisk together the soy sauce/ tamari, garlic, ginger, honey, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, and lime juice. Taste test and adjust as needed, adding more chili-paste for heat, honey for sweetness, or garlic or ginger for zing.
- When the cauliflower is lightly browned, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly.
- In a skillet add peanut oil and add red and green bell pepper, zucchini and cook until they are crisp and tender then add roasted cauliflower and cook for a minute. To this add sauce and cornstarch slurry and mix everything well continue to cook until sauce is thickened. To this add peanuts and green onions. And mix well.
- You can serve the cauliflower with rice or noodles and garnish with green onion, sesame seeds, and any leftover marinade.
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.