General Tao (or Tso) Cauliflower
Cauliflower is just one of those vegetables that can transform into anything you want it to be. It lends well to both salty and sweet flavours, and the texture possibilities are endless (Think: cauliflower "rice", pizza, soup, mashed "potatoes"). My mouth is drooling just thinking of all of those dishes! Not only that, but cauliflower packs a serious nutritional punch since it's low calorie, high in insoluble fibre (the kind that gets the bowels moving), vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant), and potassium (an essential electrolyte in almost all bodily functions). This recipe is one of my favourites so far and I would probably drink a litre of the sauce if it weren't considered nutritionally unsound. Oh well, I guess a generous coating will have to do for now!
FOR THE CAULIFLOWER:
1 small head or ½ large head of cauliflower, cut off florets
1-2 tsp oil, avocado or olive
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
FOR THE SAUCE:
2 tbsp oil (canola or avocado or any flavorless oil)
3-4 tsp fresh ginger, minced or crushed
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. chili pepper sauce or Sriracha (optional)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. sesame oil (I find sesame oil VERY strong so I use it very cautiously)
2 tbsp.hoisin sauce
1 tsp. unbleached flour (can use any flour substitute or corn/potato starch)
1 stalk green onion, chopped (optional, as garnish)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread out cut up cauliflower onto baking sheet. Make sure they are not overcrowded as this will have a “steaming” effect and the cauliflower won’t roast as well.
Drizzle oil and spices overtop and mix together until well coated.
Bake for 30 minutes, checking and moving pieces around at least twice.
While cauliflower is baking, heat oil in a pan on low-medium heat.
Add garlic, ginger, and chili pepper sauce. Stir together and cook for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Careful that the garlic doesn’t burn!
Raise the heat slightly to medium and add in the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, and hoisin sauce. Stir together and watch for bubbles to form.
Sprinkle in flour slowly, stirring constantly (preferably with a whisk) to avoid lumps forming.
Reduce heat and cook sauce until thickened to nectar-like consistency. Remove from heat.
Remove cauliflower from oven and toss together with sauce in a bowl.
Garnish with green onion and serve.
NUMBER OF SERVINGS: 3-4
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: This is easier than I thought (Intermediate)