In the plant-based world, cauliflower is a great stand-in for Buffalo chicken wings and it really does that job well. It’s also a fantastic alternative to Asian-style chicken stir-fries. I love Orange Chicken and this version does not disappoint. What’s better? No oil (apart from a smidge of sesame oil for flavour, not frying. You may leave it out to be totally oil-free). I think the orange zest knocks it out of the park.
Sweet & Spicy Orange Cauliflower "Chicken"
For the Batter
- 1 cup flour (whole wheat, all-purpose or gluten free as preferred)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 head cauliflower Medium size
For the Sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes If you like it super spicy add 1/2 tsp or more to your taste.
- 1 cup orange juice, freshly-squeezed if possible
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup brown sugar OR date syrup OR maple syrup
- 1/4 cup soy sauce OR tamari OR liquid or coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1-2 green onions, chopped
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Step 1 - Batter the cauliflower florets
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, garlic and onion powder, then slowly whisk in water to make a smooth batter
- Rinse cauliflower and break up into florets
- Option 1 - "Shake and Bake" technique: Pour batter into a plastic produce type of bag . Add cauliflower florets to bag and shake until all are coated with batter. Pour breadcrumbs into second bag, followed by battered florets and shake again until florets are coated in breadcrumbs
- Option 2 - If you do not like the "shake and bake" technique or prefer not to use plastic, feel free to have batter in one bowl and crumbs in second bowl. Dip cauliflower in batter, shake off excess, then dip in crumbs and shake off excess
- Lay crumb-coated cauliflower florets on parchment lined baking sheet, making sure they are not touching
- Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and crispy, flipping florets after first 15 minutes
Step 2 - The Sauce
- While the cauliflower is almost done baking, heat a large stir-fry pan and add all sauce ingredients except the cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil, and cook for a minute or two.
- Mix the cornstarch and water to combine, and then add to the pan. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until the sauce thickens. This should just take a few minutes.
- Add baked cauliflower florets to sauce and mix in very well until all florets are coated
- Serve with brown or white rice, or any other grain you may prefer. Garnish with thinly-sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
- NB: If you like a LOT of sauce, simply double the sauce recipe.