This crispy orange cauliflower recipe is a perfect copycat of the Panda Express orange chicken for all vegetarians. I love the crispy and crunchy cauliflower junks tossed in this amazing tasting sweet orange sauce. If you have ever been to Panda Express and have ordered the Orange Chicken, you know what I am speaking off. Except, this recipe is so much better as it is made with cauliflower and doesn’t need meat.
The orange sauce does contain orange juice, this is what makes it smell like heaven. When you prepare it at home and get this scent in your nose, you know why it’s worth to stand in the kitchen for an hour. You need to fry the cauliflower, which is dipped in a batter, in order to get the most crispy orange cauliflower. I suggest you use peanut oil, which is, in my opinion, the best oil to fry. Make sure to place the fried cauliflower on kitchen paper to get rid of the unnecessary oil.
Crispy Orange Cauliflower
Crispy battered cauliflower florets tossed in a sweet orange sauce. The Panda Express Orange Chicken Copycat for Vegetarians.
- 0.5 head cauliflower
- 125 g all-purpose flour
- 40 g cornstarch
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 150 ml water
- 200 ml peanut oil
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger minced
- 1 tsp sambal oelek
- 25 g white sugar
- 25 g brown sugar
- 30 ml orange juice
- 60 ml white vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
Mix the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Add the egg and water and mix until you have a smooth batter.
Wash the cauliflower and cut it into small florets. Add them to the batter, mix gently, and let it rest for 30 minutes in your fridge.
Heat up the peanut oil in a pot which is suitable for frying. Once the oil is hot, add only as much cauliflower florets as fits in the pot without touching each other. Fry them for about 6 minutes until golden and don't forget to flip them after the halftime.
When the first batch is finished, place them on a plate with kitchen paper. The paper will soak up the remaining oil from frying. Continue in batches until all battered cauliflower florets are fried. This will take you about 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pot.
Meanwhile, you can prepare your orange sauce.
Preheat a little saucepan with one tablespoon of oil. Add the minced garlic, minced, ginger, and one tablespoon of sambal oelek. Cook for one minute and stir constantly.
Mix in the sugar, then the orange juice, white vinegar, and soy sauce. Cook until the sugar has dissolved.
In a little bowl, mix the cornstarch with water and add it to the orange sauce. Cook until thickened. Keep it warm and add some water if the sauce gets too thick.
When you have fried all cauliflower florets, add them to the orange sauce and mix well.
Serve it with basmati rice or Asian noodles, as you prefer.
You can store the battered cauliflower florets, BEFORE frying, for up to one day in your fridge. Fry half of them today and the other half tomorrow. But after you fried them, you should eat them within one hour, or they don't taste so good as they won't be crispy anymore.