Last week, this video for making crack cauliflower kept popping up in my Facebook feed, so I had to give it a try. Everything except for the sauce was appealing to me, so I decided to smother it in Bang Bang Sauce instead. The urge to fry these was strong, but I tried it first baked and it was perfect. There is a first time for everything.
And so I present to you: Bang Bang Cauliflower.
The magic happens right after these florets emerge crispy from the oven and are drizzled with the bang bang sauce. The first drizzle kind of oozes onto the crispiest parts of the cauliflower, giving parts of it a slightly chewy texture, which works well with the succulent cauliflower inside. The second drizzle floats over the top, giving each bite a creamy+spicy quality, while the chopped scallions give it another crisp textural element and the cilantro adds a super clean note. I ate at least 8 cups of this stuff in the past couple of days while testing it out (for you!), so I guess I am kind of a bang bang cauliflower aficionado now. 😀
You may be wondering if you can use Aquafaba in place of Ener-G here, and I did. It did not work as well (it wasn’t quite sticky enough), but worth a try if that’s what you’ve got. There’s even more egg replacer ideas here so you can easily make this crispy, creamy, slightly spicy and succulent one-bite dish to eat by itself, tossed over rice or tucked into a taco.
You can also make your own Sweet Chili sauce with just a few ingredients for an even better, spicier kick. Grab some Follow Your Heart, Just Mayo or Fabanaise brand vegan mayos for a super creamy element that is perfect blended with sweet chili sauce.
Bang Bang Cauliflower
Yield 4 servings
FOR THE CAULIFLOWER
- 4 cups bite-sized cauliflower florets, rinsed
- 1/2 cup white rice flour
- 2 TB Ener-G, whisked with 3/4 cup water
- 2 cups panko
- salt and pepper
- spray oil
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1/2 cup vegan mayo (I used Follow Your Heart brand)
- 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1 TB sriracha
- juice from half a lime
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- handful of cilantro, finely minced
- Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
- Set up a station with three large bowls. In the first bowl, place the rice flour. In the second, place the Ener-G+water. In the third place the panko mixture.
- Working in batches, place some of the rinsed-and-still-wet cauliflower florets into the first bowl with the rice flour, and use your hands to toss to coat. Then pick up the cauliflower, shaking off any excess flour and place into the bowl with the vegan egg mixture, and toss to coat. Then place the coated cauliflower into the bowl with the panko and toss well to combine. The pieces don’t need to be completely covered in panko, but If you find you are having some trouble with getting it to stick, moisten with a little of the vegan egg mixture and press the panko onto the florets with your fingers.
- Place the cauliflower onto the lined baked sheet in a single layer. Repeat until all of the cauliflower pieces are coated, then spray the tops of each with a little oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place into the oven for 15 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden.
- Remove, flip the florets and respray the other side with a little more spray oil. Bake for 10 minutes more, or until golden all over. Do keep an eye on them towards the end of the bake time to prevent burning! (The bake time will vary based on the size of your florets.)
- To serve, allow the cauliflower to slightly cool, then drizzle with the sauce as desired. Sprinkle with the chopped scallions and cilantro and serve immediately.