Ok, so, I admit that it took me quite a few trials before being confident in my ‘buffalo cauliflower wings’ but I made it. I can consistently – and without reading any recipe – cook these delicious things up and create new flavors. Anyways, what I like most about this is you can substitute out your own preferred products or styles of cooking once you get the hang of it. I would also like to add a disclaimer that these are not considered “healthy,” in my opinion, but they are one of my favorite vegan junk food pleasures. I know that they can be made healthier by doing a few things different, like baking or air frying perhaps, but I can only attest to what I have perfected, so if you try something other than what I have shared and it works well, please share!
Let’s get to it.
Recipe yields a decent portion for 2-3 people, depending on the size of the cauliflower. Double the cauliflower, double the portion size.
- 1 medium-large sized head of cauliflower
- 2 cups of flour (whole wheat, apple, coconut, spelt, etc. I have only used white, wheat, and apple flour for this, so I am not sure about how other flours will cook)
- Water, enough to make the batter liquid-thick, but not runny. Start with 1 ½ cups then add as needed.
- ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon of onion powder
- A few dashes of natural sea salt or finely ground Himalayan salt
- Preferred cooking oil (I have used peanut oil, sunflower oil, and sometimes grapeseed oil) to fill up about 1 inch- 1 ½ inch of frying pan or large deep pot.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Clean, rinse and strain the head of cauliflower.
- Chop cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, or whatever size you prefer
- Heat up your pan of oil over medium-high- to high heat for frying
- Batter time—in a large mixing bowl, pour your flour and seasonings in. Mix together with wooden spoon or whisk. Begin to slowly add your water while stirring until the texture of the batter is like thick paint or pancake mix. You don’t want it to be too liquidy or loose, because then it will not stick to the cauliflower.
- Once batter is ready, individually dip the cauliflower pieces into the batter, shaking gently when you pull it out of the batter. TIP: I also place my batter-dipped pieces into a colander/strainer (careful to put a plate under, because the batter may drip through the holes) while they are waiting to be fried.
- Once oil is hot and your first batch of cauliflower is ready, individually place the battered-pieces into the oil. TIP: Try not to crowd the pan with too many pieces at once. This makes a difference with the crispiness. You also do not want them all to be touching, so give a little space in between the pieces.
- Let fry until the pan-side down of the cauliflower begins to brown and crisp. This is usually about 3-4 minutes per side in between flipping, depending on your heat level and oil.
- Flip your cauliflower bite to the other battered side for and cook until fully golden brown and crispy. TIP: You can check the texture and level of crispiness while they are cooking by tapping the side facing up with gently with a utensil (tip of a fork, spoon, knife).
- If needed, maneuver your cauliflower to any other sides that need to cook in the oil. Flip accordingly and allow to cook (about 1 minute).
- Once pieces are all fried to desired texture, safely remove from oil onto a paper towel/paper lined bowl or plate to drain excess oil. TIP: If the pieces still look white, light, or soft, then they need to fry longer. Don’t be afraid to let them fry for a bit and look for the changes in color to determine when they’re ready. Go for golden brown, but not dark brown or black.
- While your bites are still hot and fresh out of the oil, get another large bowl for tossing your sauce.
- Place however many cauliflower bites into the new sauce bowl.
- Pour your sauce(s) over the cauliflower, lightly and slowly, while gently shaking and tossing them in the air to thoroughly coat. TIP: I just gather and mix the sauces that I have on hand. A few shakes of your fav BBQ sauce, hot sauce, teriyaki, hoisin, chili sauce, etc. over the cauliflower, but not too much if you still want crispy pieces)
- Shake on any extra seasonings you may want. I usually sprinkle extra garlic, lemon pepper, and a little sea salt over the top while tossing.
- Transfer finished bites into an oven-safe pan and pop in the oven while you finish tossing or frying the rest of the bites. If you are all done, just let the finished pieces bake in the oven for about 3-5 minutes for an extra sticky crispy texture.
- Garnish with scallions or desired herbs and enjoy!
I will that this serves you in some way if you need it! Try out new things, add your own twist, and make it a special dish for yourself and your family if you enjoy. It’s such a great (and still as fulfilling) substitute for chicken wings if you are trying to transition, if you just want to experiment, or if you just enjoy cauliflower.
Comment and let us know if you are going to try it!
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