FOR THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS
- plenty of grapeseed, canola or vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 TB vegetable oil
- 1 TB garlic, minced
- 1 TB ginger, minced
- 4 ribs celery, sliced
- 1 bunch of scallions, chopped (reserve white and green parts separately)
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB sambal
- 1 TB rice vinegar
- 1 TB sugar
- 2 TB water, blended with 2 tsp cornstarch
- cooked white rice
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
- dried or fresh Thai chili peppers
- reserved green chopped scallions
To make the Brussels sprouts, place several inches of oil into a heavy cast-iron pot. (I use this Lodge brand pot for frying.) Bring oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat (you can also test for the oil’s readiness by inserting a wooden spoon into the oil and touching it to the bottom of the pot. If bubbles form around it immediately, you are ready to fry.)
Whisk together the next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Working in small batches, dip the sprouts one by one into the batter, then carefully transfer to the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pot or the sprouts will start sticking together. Fry the Brussels sprouts halves until golden, turning them around with chopsticks or heat-resistant tongs to ensure even cooking. Transfer to paper towels (I line a baking sheet with paper towels) to drain while you repeat the process for the rest of the Brussels sprouts.
Once your sprouts are all fried, make your sauce. Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute for one minute, then add in the celery and white chopped scallions. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, then add in the rest of the sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch and water slurry. Allow to come to a simmer, then pour in the cornstarch slurry. Stir until thickened, then remove from the heat.
Add the Brussels sprouts to the sauce, and toss gently to coat.
Serve immediately over cooked white rice, garnishing with the chopped peanuts, Thai chilis and reserved chopped green scallions.