X

Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower – Air Fried

Air fried cauliflower and tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce with peppers, onions, and crunchy sesame seeds! It’s best eaten with jasmine rice or noodles with this Vegan Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower – Air fried dish!

Those who like Vegan & Vegetarian recipes can join my Facebook group World Best Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes.

Please join my Facebook page if you enjoy cooking vegetarian/vegan dishes – Pinch Of Flavours

At the end of this post is a recipe card and a disclosure of Amazon affiliate links.

Sharing is caring! LET’S BE FRIENDS ON PINTEREST! WE’RE ALWAYS PINNING TASTY RECIPES!

Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower
Air fried cauliflower and tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce with peppers, onions, and crunchy sesame seeds! It’s best eaten with jasmine rice or noodles with this Vegan Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower dish!

Easy Kung Pao cauliflower recipe Kung Pao sauce. Kung pao sauce tossed with battered and baked cauliflower. A perfect movie day appetizer. Vegetarian recipe. You can use gluten-free breadcrumbs for this recipe. Serve over rice or double the kung pao sauce if your cauliflower is large.

My sister and I were big fans of Chinese food growing up. Vegetable dumplings and Kung Pao chicken were always on the menu.

Due to many of my friends being vegan, we’ve had to find ways to still enjoy our favorite foods, so this recipe is ideal! There’s no need to eat a take-out when this homemade kung pao cauliflower may just be as good as takeout.

Using a completely different sauce, it is similar to our fan-favorite bang bang cauliflower recipe.

You’ll love making this crispy vegan kung pao cauliflower because it’s easy to make, healthy, and delicious. Make this recipe as an appetizer, or serve it over rice with roasted peanuts or roasted sesame seeds for an easy weeknight meal.

Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower
Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower

About Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower – Air Fried

You’ll just love these crispy kung pao cauliflower bites. They’re spicy, juicy, hot, and just a ton of fun to eat. Prepare the kung pao sauce, then bake the cauliflower. Place the cauliflower on a serving platter or bowl in one layer. Immediately before serving, drizzle the sauce.

You can also serve the dish with rice or other cooked grains. Here’s a recipe for Kung Pao cauliflower bites. When you have a large cauliflower head, you may want to double the sauce to serve over rice. Chilis can make the sauce very hot.

Check the heat before serving. If the sauce is too hot, prepare another batch without the chilies and mix it. You can cook the cauliflower in a pan with a splash of water until tender, then stir in the sauce, or bake it with salt, cayenne, and oil.

There’s a sweet and spicy flavor to this Kung Pao cauliflower, as well as crunchy peanuts. These flavors are simply irresistible to me and I could probably have them every single day.

My favorite way to cook vegetables right now is in the air fryer, so for this recipe, I tossed the florets in some cornstarch and air-fried them, which was simple, crispy, and very quick.

As an alternative to the classic sugary version of Kung Pao, this healthy vegetarian version is just as tasty. It requires only pantry staples and only takes 20 to 25 minutes to cook.

Benefits of Making Kung Pao Cauliflower in Air Fryer

  • A preheated air fryer does not take as long to heat like an oven (10 minutes versus 5 minutes). Also, air frying cauliflower only takes 12-14 minutes, so you can save a lot of time!
  • In place of baking/roasting, air fry the cauliflower. I highly recommend it. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F, then arrange the cauliflower in a row in the basket. You can shake the basket halfway through cooking so that it gets golden.
  • You get the perfect texture contrast with an air-fried battered cauliflower. Under the batter, the cauliflower remains soft and tender, while the batter becomes crisp and brown.
  • Omnivores may find it difficult to feed vegan friends. Kung pao cauliflower is a delicious veggie side dish that’s ideal for vegans, vegetarians or anyone who wants a tasty veggie side.
  • There is a slightly funky cauliflower smell and aftertaste here, but the mixture of breading and sugary sauce covers it up. Cauliflower haters may like this dish if they aren’t afraid of a bit of heat. Having more veggies is a fun way to eat them (though not the most nutritious).
  • I haven’t tasted cauliflower this good in a long time. You might like this vegetable dish more if you are more concerned with taste than nutrition.
Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower
Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower

Exactly what is kung pao cauliflower?

Kung Pao cauliflower is a spicy Chinese stir fry made with air-fried cauliflower, peanuts, dried or fresh chilies, vegetables, and peanut butter. The sauce is made of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar, and is a bit salty, sweet, and sour.

This recipe isn’t a classic. The cauliflower I used in the air-fried recipe is the vegan and meatless recipe and I enjoyed it even more. The cauliflower was crunchy and crispy.

Ingredients

For crispy air fried cauliflower:

  • 1 medium – Medium Cauliflower head chopped in florets (boiled and drained)
  • 1 tsp – Cayenne pepper powder
  • 6 tbsp – Cornstarch or any other starch
  • 6 tbsp – Water
  • 1/2 cup – Almond milk/ Plain milk if not vegan
  • 3 tbsp – Soya sauce/Tamari sauce if gluten-free
  • Pink salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp – Sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup – Panko bread crumb

For Kung Pao Sauce :

  • 1 big – Green bell pepper cubes
  • 1 big – Onion cubes
  • 3 tbsp – Spring onion greens chopped
  • 2 tbsp – Scallion greens chopped
  • 12 to 15 – Cashew nuts chopped
  • 1 tbsp – Ginger finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp – Garlic minced
  • 4 – Dry red chilly
  • 1 tbsp -Sugar/ maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp – White wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp – Black pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp – Olive oil/ Plain vegetable oil 
  • 1/2 tsp – Chilli flakes

Cauliflower – It is such a versatile vegetable that takes on flavors so well. In this recipe, it doesn’t disappoint!

Corn Starch – After roasting or air-frying the cauliflower, dredge it in corn starch to ensure a crispy coating.

Oil – Aids in sticking the cornstarch to the cauliflower.

Plant-Based Milk – Any plant-based milk will do, as long as it is unsweetened. It was unsweetened almond milk that I used.

Kung Pao Sauce – It is the kung pao sauce (no offense to the cauliflower) that truly makes this vegan recipe shine. Using tamari or soy sauce, sugar, pink salt,  vinegar, sesame oil, fresh garlic, ginger, and pepper, this dish has the perfect combination of salty, sweet, and tangy flavors.

Oil of sesame – It imparts a delicious sesame flavor to the sauce without being overpowering. Please do not skip this step!

Water – It is used for making the sauce.

Vegetables – Onions and bell peppers are my favorite and I love them in this kung pao cauliflower recipe. Sweetness is imparted to the dish by the peppers and onions.

Salt and pepper –To add flavor to the batter, season the batter with salt and pepper.

The crunch is best maintained by undercooking them. In addition, there’s green onion for garnish.

Ginger- garlic – My favorite ingredient in Asian-inspired recipes is ginger-garlic, and this recipe is no exception.

Cashew or Peanuts – Kung pao dish is complete without the crunchy peanuts or cashews so this one has some roasted peanuts or cashews too.

Check out the Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower – Air Fried Video :

How to make Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower – Air Fried Recipe step by step with photo:

  1. On high flame, boil cauliflower florets for 5 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

  2. In a bowl, we add cornstarch, panko, cayenne powder, pink salt according to taste, sesame oil, soya sauce.

  3. Add almond milk. Mix everything together nicely. 

  4. Add little water if required, we need a thick paste.

  5. Dip the boiled cauliflower florets into the batter we prepared.

  6. Place the dipped cauliflower florets on the parchment paper. We will Air fry them for 10 minutes at 380°F. Fry till golden crispy.

  7. In a frying pan, add olive oil on medium flame. Add garlic minced, ginger finely chopped, 4 dry red chilies.

  8. On medium heat saute for 30 seconds. Add cashew nut chopped saute for 30 seconds.

  9. Add onion bulbs and saute for 30 seconds. Then add green bell pepper and saute for 2 minutes on high flame.

  10. Add red chili flakes and black pepper powder and saute for 30 seconds.

  11. Add sugar and mix well.

  12. Add salt to taste and saute for 1 minute.

  13. Add soy sauce and vinegar. 

  14. Then add green scallion and green onion chopped.

  15. Mix corn starch powder with water and make a slurry and add to the mixture in the pan.

  16. Mix nicely and the gravy is ready turn off the flame. Let it cool for 10 minutes.

  17. Now add the crispy air-fried cauliflower to the mixture after 5 to 10 minutes. It will help the cauliflower stay crispy.

  18. Mix nicely.

  19. Our crispy kung pao cauliflower is ready to be served.

    Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower
    Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower

Important Suggestion To Keep In Mind

  • Ensure that the batter is thick enough to coat the florets thinly.
  • You may also use rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar if you cannot find Chinese black vinegar. If you are using sweet balsamic vinegar, try half the quantity and add more if needed.
  • The dried chilies should be tempered after the oil has been added to the wok or pan, and the heat should be reduced. As the chilies begin to release their aroma or become slightly darker, add them in and stir until they begin to release their flavor. Before adding in the chilies, remove the wok or pan from the heat if it is too hot.
  • Adding the florets to the sauce will require cooking it down until it gets thick. Florets will be drier and shinier after this treatment.
  • I prefer the taste of cashews to peanuts, however. Before combining nuts with the dish, toast them first.
  • Ensure that the cauliflower florets are all the same size before cooking. The bigger the cut, the crispier the florets (smaller florets can get really mushy and soft).
  • After you toss in the kung pao sauce, the kung pao cauliflower will begin to sog after about 20 minutes. Serve them right before tossing them in the sauce.

Serving Suggestion

The cauliflower should cool a bit before tossing it into the sauce if you are making the recipe ahead of time. This will keep the cauliflower crispy and crunchy.

You can serve this Kung pau cauliflower with either brown rice, Hakka noodles, or jasmine rice.

Quinoa is also an option. Alternatively, you can serve them over a bed of rice with peanuts, scallions, and sesame seeds as a plant-based meal.

Storage Suggestion 

The best way to enjoy kung pao cauliflower is to serve it immediately. It is possible to store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, place the container in a 400-degree oven.

Frequently Asked Question

How can we make them super crispy?

The florets will be crisper if they have been dipped in a batter of rice flour and panko bread crumbs, then fried in the air fryer.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

No, it’s not gluten-free due to the soy sauce. Make it gluten-free by substituting tamari for soy sauce.

Cauliflower florets can be baked?

If you like, you can bake them at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes and turn them halfway through.

Cauliflower can be deep-fried?

The answer is yes, you can fry them.

Is it possible to make gluten-free kung pao cauliflower?

Gluten-free versions of this recipe are easy to make. You can substitute tapioca starch for arrowroot starch and use certified gluten-free flour, soy sauce (tamari), and soy sauce (tamari).

All of these items are available in most grocery stores or supermarkets, as well as online retailers like Amazon.

Kung Pao is a Chinese dish. What does it taste like?

Served with a hint of heat from the pepper, kung pao sauce boasts bold flavors of sweet, sour, and savory.

Despite having a strong flavor, the Chinese stir fry uses less sauce than other classic take-out recipes such as sticky sesame cauliflower, general Tso’s tofu, and sticky sesame chickpeas.

Some other easy snacks recipes you would like on my blog – Hara Bhara Stuffed Kebab, Bread Pakora (With Stuffing), Crispy Cheesy Hash Brown, Veggie Cheese Cake.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower - Air Fried

Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower – Air Fried


  • Author: Sanchita Dey
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Air fried cauliflower and tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce with peppers, onions, and crunchy sesame seeds! It’s best eaten with jasmine rice or noodles with this Vegan Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower – Air fried dish!


Ingredients

Scale

For crispy air fried cauliflower:

For Kung Pao Sauce :


Instructions

  1. On high flame, boil cauliflower florets for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain and keep aside.
  3. In a bowl, we add cornstarch, panko, cayenne powder, pink salt according to taste, sesame oil, soya sauce, and add almond milk.
  4. Mix everything together nicely. Add little water if required, we need a thick paste.
  5. Dip the boiled cauliflower florets into the batter we prepared.
  6. Place the dipped cauliflower florets on the parchment paper. We will Air fry them for 8 minutes at 180°F.
  7. In a frying pan, add olive oil on medium flame. Add garlic minced, ginger finely chopped, 4 dry red chilies.
  8. On medium heat saute for 30 seconds. Add cashew nut chopped saute for 30 seconds.
  9. Add onion bulbs and saute for 30 seconds. Then add green bell pepper and saute for 2 minutes on high flame.
  10. Add red chili flakes and black pepper powder and saute for 30 seconds.
  11. Add sugar and mix well.
  12. Add salt to taste and saute for 1 minute.
  13. Add soy sauce and vinegar. 
  14. Then add green scallion and green onion chopped.
  15. Mix corn starch powder with water and make a slurry and add to the mixture in the pan.
  16. Mix nicely and the gravy is ready turn off the flame. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
  17. Now add the crispy air-fried cauliflower to the mixture after 5 to 10 minutes. It will help the cauliflower stay crispy.
  18. Mix nicely.
  19. Our crispy kung pao cauliflower is ready to be served.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Anthony’s Premium White Rice Flour, 3 lb, Gluten Free, Non GMO, Unbleached

Anthony’s Premium White Rice Flour, 3 lb, Gluten Free, Non GMO, Unbleached

Anthony’s Premium White Rice Flour, 3 lb, Gluten Free, Non GMO, Unbleached

Badia Pepper Cayenne, 16 Ounces

Badia Pepper Cayenne, 16 Ounces

Badia Pepper Cayenne, 16 Ounces

California Olive Ranch 100% California Extra Virgin Olive Oil

California Olive Ranch 100% California Extra Virgin Olive Oil

California Olive Ranch 100% California Extra Virgin Olive Oil

CalphalonTriply Stainless Steel 12-Inch Wok

CalphalonTriply Stainless Steel 12-Inch Wok

12 inch 3.7 L

Gel Spice Ground Black Pepper 5 lb

Gel Spice Ground Black Pepper 5 lb

Gel Spice Ground Black Pepper 5 lb

Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11 in 1, Electric Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer

Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11 in 1, Electric Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer

Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11 in 1, Electric Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer

Phillips Air Fryer

Phillips Air Fryer

Philips Kitchen Appliances Digital Twin TurboStar Airfryer XXL, with Fat Removal Technology, 3 Lbs, Black, HD9650/96

Vitamix Explorian Blender, Professional-Grade,

Vitamix Explorian Blender, Professional-Grade,

Notes

  • Ensure that the batter is thick enough to coat the florets thinly.
  • You may also use rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar if you cannot find Chinese black vinegar. If you are using sweet balsamic vinegar, try half the quantity and add more if needed.
  • The dried chilies should be tempered after the oil has been added to the wok or pan, and the heat should be reduced. As the chilies begin to release their aroma or become slightly darker, add them in and stir until they begin to release their flavor. Before adding in the chilies, remove the wok or pan from the heat if it is too hot.
  • Adding the florets to the sauce will require cooking it down until it gets thick. Florets will be drier and shinier after this treatment.
  • I prefer the taste of cashews to peanuts, however. Before combining nuts with the dish, toast them first.
  • Ensure that the cauliflower florets are all the same size before cooking. The bigger the cut, the crispier the florets (smaller florets can get really mushy and soft).
  • After you toss in the kung pao sauce, the kung pao cauliflower will begin to sog after about 20 minutes. Serve them right before tossing them in the sauce.
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Air-fried +Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Asian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 sevings
  • Calories: 275Kcal
  • Sugar: 14g
  • Sodium: 1300mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 33g
  • Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 2mg

Keywords: Kung Pao Cauliflower

Note: A rough estimate of nutrition is provided.

💓

 We Love to hear back from you and appreciate your success stories!
Have you tried this “Recipe”? Please feed us with your ★ star ratings and comments below.

You can also FOLLOW me on FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST for more fabulous recipes and updates.

 

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Recipe rating