This Kung Pao Cauliflower is a delicious stir-fry which is spicy, hearty, satisfying, and comforting. It's a great meat-free Chinese takeout alternative to Kung Pao Chicken! The Kung Pao sauce has the perfect combination of spicy, salty and sweet flavors which will make your mouth water. The recipe is vegan, gluten-free, low in fat and calories, and can be made oil-free!
This recipe has a video for easy visual instructions.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl whisk together cornstarch, chickpea flour, plant-based milk, and soy sauce. Let it sit for about 1 minute, then add the cauliflower florets.
Toss until all cauliflower florets are coated with batter. Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes
Heat oil (or water) in a skillet over low to medium heat, add garlic, ginger, peppercorns. Saute for 1 minute, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
Next, add bell pepper and saute with a lid on for a further 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more water if necessary (I used 1 tbsp).
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a medium/large bowl, combine water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Whisk.
Pour the sauce into the skillet. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low heat for 1 minute. Add the roasted cauliflower florets and toss to coat.
Transfer back to the baking sheet and bake for a further 10-15 minutes if you like the cauliflower to be crispy OR enjoy immediately.
Serve with rice or rice noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds, fresh chives and peanuts (optional). Enjoy!
Chickpea flour alternative: I would suggest using gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular flour if not gluten-free) instead of chickpea flour (haven't tried it out though).
Soy sauce: Use gluten-free if needed or tamari or coconut aminos. You can also use low-sodium soy sauce.
Sweetener: You can use a sweetener of choice, e.g. maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown sugar, etc.
Use 1/4 teaspoon (or more) of cayenne pepper OR 4-6 dried chilies instead. If you prefer dried chilies, add them to the pan and fry together with garlic, ginger, peppercorns, and bell pepper. Then remove the chilies before you pour in the sauce, otherwise, the Kung Pao will be too spicy!