Think of it as vegetarian Buffalo chicken wings — batter-coated cauliflower florets tossed in thick and sticky sweet-salty-spicy sauce that coats the florets without ruining the crispness.
But why a vegetarian version of an iconic chicken dish? There was a time when my firstborn was vegetarian and I cooked this for her. The rest of us enjoyed it as a side dish.
The thing is, these Buffalo cauliflower florets turned out so good that my secondborn, a carnivore to the core, started hankering for it too. Since then, whenever I cook this dish, I use the largest head of cauliflower available.
Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Florets
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Rinse the cauliflower well, trim and cut into florets.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and starch with the salt and pepper.
- Pour in iced water little by little, mixing as you pour, until you have a thick but still pourable batter.
- In a frying pan or wok, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Dump the cauliflower florets into the batter and mix lightly but thoroughly to coat each floret with batter.
- Drop the batter-coated florets one by one into the hot oil.
- Cook over medium-high heat, turning them over midway through the cooking, until crispy and lightly browned.
- Scoop out the florets and spread on a rack.
- Pour off the oil from the pan.
- Add all the ingredients for the Buffalo sauce and half of the sesame seeds into the pan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture reaches boiling point. Turn off the heat.
- Add the cauliflower florets to the sauce and toss to coat all of them well.
- Transfer the crispy Buffalo cauliflower florets to a plate (or plates if you want to serve them individually like I did) and sprinkle with the remaining toasted sesame seeds. Optionally, sprinkle in some chopped parsley too.
- Serve the crispy Buffalo cauliflower florets at once.