Sweet & Spicy Orange Cauliflower “Chicken”

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"

Fresh take on Asian Chicken using cauliflower and fresh orange juice.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese

Ingredients
  

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

Garnish

  • 1-2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • 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.
Keyword Asian, Cauliflower, Oil-free, Vegan

Curried Buttercup Squash Soup

Soup is the Song of the Hearth..and the Home.

LOUIS PULLIG De GOUY – the soup book (1949)

Nothing brings me as much comfort as a simmering pot of soup on the stove. As the days get shorter and darker and colder, my yen for salad wanes and I reach for the big pot again and again. 

On the menu today, roasted buttercup squash soup, fragrant with spices from India with a hint of creamy coconut.

Buttercup seems a bit more dense and sweeter than butternut after roasting, ideal for a curried soup. Its brilliant golden-orange flesh not only adds a gorgeous hue but is a great source of vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and fiber. 

So let the wind howl and watch the rain turn into sleet, then snow. This soup will keep you warm and toasty inside. 

Curried Buttercup Squash Soup

This delicious creamy soup strikes a perfect balance between sweet and spicy!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine East Asian flavours
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 buttercup squash, roasted
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder Shan curry powder is one type that works well
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 small dried red chili peppers (optional)
  • 1 can coconut milk, light or regular
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Pre heat oven to 400 F
  • Cut 1 buttercup squash in half and scoop out seeds (which are excellent toasted on their own)
  • Roast squash cut-side down on parchment-lined baking sheet until fork-tender (approximately 30-40 minutes)
  • Let cool, then scoop the baked flesh from the skin and set aside (compost skin)
  • In soup pot on medium heat, saute diced onions, garlic and ginger until softened (if avoiding oil, saute in water or broth)
  • Stir in curry powder and garam masala until fragrant (it's quick, don't let it burn)
  • Add 4cups vegetable broth ( or water with low-sodium vegetable boullion powder)
  • Stir in roasted squash - if too thick, add an additional cup of broth or water
  • Add dried chili peppers if including
  • Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to simmer
  • Simmer for 15 minutes
  • Remove chili peppers if using
  • Stir in coconut milk
  • With immersion blender, blend until velvety smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, puree in small batches in regular or high-speed blender with vented lid.
  • Taste and adjust spices to your liking
  • Serve, garnished with a sprig of cilantro or a few toasted, shelled pumpkin seeds or a light sprinkle of cinnamon
Keyword Autumn, Oil-free, Vegan, Winter