Sunday, November 17, 2013

Orange Cauliflower

Many years ago, when I worked at the Concord Mall I would often frequent the Chinese restaurant and order their Orange Chicken.  I am not sure what it was about their particular preparation that made it so good, but it was the perfect orange sauce, not too sweet, not too gloppy and seasoned just right.

I ran across a recipe for Orange Chicken  not too long ago, and it made me think about the Orange Chicken from the restaurant in the mall so I decided to give it a try at home, vegan of course. 

You may remember the Buffalo Cauliflower I made a while back.  If cauliflower worked for that it was bound to work here as well.  Really, just fried little balls of cauliflower with sauce on them. If you think about it the two dishes are not terribly dissimilar. I did a quick Internet search found this recipethis recipe for orange cauliflower, and I used the basic methodology with a few changes.

It worked out great.  Even the cauliflower hating, meat and potatoes husband tasted it and liked it. The words "pretty good" and "the best way I have ever tasted cauliflower" came out of his mouth. Wow! Totally unexpected and a really nice compliment!

I am chalking this experiment up to a win. And as I sit here writing and thinking back to that Chinese restaurant in the Concord Mall I recall they also had a pretty mean Sesame Chicken. I think that will be the next thing I tackle.

Orange Cauliflower

1 small head cauliflower cut into bite size chunks
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying

For the batter:
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
2 tbsp warm water
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vegetable oil

For orange sauce:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Juice and zest of one large orange
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Pinch of salt (to taste)

To finish
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp brown sugar

To serve:
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 green onion sliced thin (for garnish)

To make the batter place the flaxseed meal in the water and set aside to thicken.  Add the rest of the batter ingredients to a bowl. When the flaxseed meal has become gooey add it and stir.  The batter will be about the consistency of pancake or waffle batter.  Put the cauliflower chunks in the batter and toss them to ensure they are evenly coated.

While you are preparing the batter heat the 1/2 cup oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot drop the coated cauliflower in and allow them to fry until golden brown on each side.  Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.  (Note: as I did this I transferred the drained cauliflower to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and kept them warm in a 225 degree oven so that they did not get soggy as I prepared the rest of the dish).

Once the frying is finished heat a new skillet over medium heat and add the tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the garlic and green onion and heat for a minute or so. Add the orange juice, orange zest, tamari and rice wine vinegar and salt and bring to a boil.  Add the cauliflower and toss to coat.  Place on top of rice.

To finish whisk the 1 tsp cornstarch into the 1/4 cup of orange juice and add to the same heated skillet.  Add the brown sugar and whisk until it boils (about a minute).  Pour over the cauliflower and garnish with green onions.

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