Cauliflower Tempura Bites are fried till golden brown and tossed with an addicting spicy Honey Ginger Sriracha Sauce. Perfect as a party appetizer, side dish, or meal!
Today’s recipe is sponsored by House of Tsang, who supplied me with some of their cooking sauces. But as usual, all these opinions are my own.
House of Tsang sent me four different sauces and I can honestly say that I’ve really enjoyed them all. I got to taste three stir-fry sauces: Saigon Sizzle, Sweet & Sour, and the Classic Sauce. One dipping sauce, Ginger Sriracha, was also added into the mix.
The stir-fry sauces are excellent. And as someone who often makes my own sauces, the list of ingredients actually makes sense. They’ve been a lifesaver in the kitchen on days where there are only scraps in the fridge and I don’t feel like cooking or going grocery shopping.
But it was the Ginger Sriracha Dipping Sauce that I latched onto for a recipe idea. I realized that if I added more ginger and some honey, I could create the perfect sweet, sticky, and spicy glaze. It’s so good I was sneaking spoonfuls of it into my mouth.
Cauliflower Tempura Bites
I hate frying things, which is why fast food exists. But occasionally the urge for something very specific that can’t easily be bought gets into me. And I obsess about it until I get up and get it done.
When I tasted the Ginger Sriracha Sauce, I really wanted to create something similar to sweet and sour pork but with cauliflower. It was tempting enough to tackle frying.
I’ve been eating tempura for ages but have never attempted to make it. I always assumed that it was made from Panko. But nope, I was totally wrong. Using cake flour (the flour with the lowest amount of protein) and keeping the batter ice cold helps stop the development of gluten, which is why tempura is so light despite being fried.
I used this “Light as a Feather: How to Make Perfect Tempura” from Saveur to fry the cauliflower and reduced the recipe to fit my needs.
Here are the key things to remember when frying:
- Don’t mix the batter, which will strengthen the gluten structure. Poke the batter until it’s hardly mixed. If the batter starts to loose it’s clumpy quality as you fry, sprinkle more flour on top of the batter. I almost did this between every frying batch.
- Keep the batter ice cold, adding more ice as needed. It makes a huge difference. The cauliflower tempura pieces that were fried when the batter was room temperature were not nearly as light.
- Dipping your fingers in the batter and sprinkling it directly on the frying cauliflower is sort of annoying but it really creates a better tempura coat on the cauliflower. It also creates loose bits of batter that fries into a really tasty crunchy topping, like the kind sprinkled on sushi, so make sure you scoop that up too as you fry.
- Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Because it’s all going to be covered in a sauce.
Cauliflower Tempura Bites with Honey Ginger Sriracha Sauce and No-Fry Pineapple Rice Salad
After frying the Cauliflower Tempura Bites, toss it with the Honey Ginger Sriracha Sauce. There is extra sauce so I recommend using enough to get a good coat on the tempura and then serve the rest on the side for extra drizzling.
Last week I shared a No-Fry Pineapple Rice Salad that is the perfect pairing for this. The pineapple goes AMAZING with the Honey Ginger Sriracha Sauce. One of the reasons I did a cold rice salad is so it could be made a day in advance. Because frying takes time so it’s nice not having to worry about anything else.
The two together make really great party sides because both can be served in the hollowed out pineapple. Usually, fried food tastes best immediately after frying but there is some leeway because it’s covered in a sauce. And actually, it still tasted great as leftovers the next day (just like Chinese food).
Cauliflower Tempura Bites with Honey Ginger Sriracha Sauce
Honey Ginger Sriracha Sauce
- 1/2 cup House of Tsang Ginger Sriracha Sauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
Cauliflower Tempura Bites
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces and at room temperature
- canola oil the amount will depend on the size of your skillet but you want an inch of oil
- 1 and 1/2 cups cake flour, separated
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup ice cubes
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
Honey Ginger Sriracha Sauce
- Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.
- Pour into a small bowel and set aside. Or pour into an airtight container and let it cool to room temperature before covering and putting it in the fridge for another day.
Cauliflower Tempura Bites
- Place a 1/2 cup of cake flour in a ziplock bag. Add the cauliflower and shake until well coated. Dump the coated cauliflower into a bowl and set aside.
- Line a large baking sheet with paper towels for draining and set aside.
- Fill a skillet with canola oil until there is 1 inch of oil. Heat on medium until the temperature reaches 360 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a deep-fry thermometer, dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If the oil starts bubbling, it’s hot enough. The bubbles will be extremely small and will seem to fizz up to the surface.
- While the oil heats put the egg yolk in a medium-sized bowl along with the ice cold water and mix. Add the ice cubes.
- Add the remaining 1 cup cake flour, and barely mix it. You want a loose lumpy batter with pockets of dry flour visible. It’s better to poke the mixture rather than stir or whisk it.
- Add the sesame oil to the canola oil and allow the temperature to rise back to 360 degrees.
- Dip the cauliflower into the batter and lay it in the hot oil.
- While the cauliflower cooks, dip your fingers into the batter and sprinkle some directly onto each piece of cauliflower.
- Cook for about 2 minutes, until the batter is golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to scoop up the fried loose bits of batter and place them on the paper towels along with the fried cauliflower. They make a great crunchy topping.
- Remove and place the cauliflower on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fried cauliflower bites and repeat until all the cauliflower is fried.
- Place the cauliflower tempura in a large bowl and add the Honey Ginger Sriracha Sauce, mixing until the cauliflower is coated to your liking. Serve alone, with plain rice, or with No-Fry Pineapple Rice Salad.
Where can you buy this sauce?
Sorry for the delay! I think you can find it in Target and Walmart. If all else fails, I’m sure you can buy it online.
I’m so glad I found you! I love your style. I’m obsessed with this recipe and now I know what to do with the head of cauliflower that’s been sitting in my fridge. Awesome idea!
I’m glad you found me too and that’s so nice to hear Lindsay, so thank you!
I hardly ever fry anything, but man when I do.. it’s YUMMY 😀 This sauce looks delicious- I love finding pre-made sauces that have high-quality ingredients!
Soooo good! And yes, I love it when I find good pre-made sauces, it really helps free up some time in the kitchen!
this looks so good! tempura is the best, and i love any sort of sweet/spicy sauce (:
Thanks, Heather! And Sweet & Spicy Forever!
That is making me drool! Reminds me of cauliflower manchurian, one of my all time fav 🙂
I’ve never had cauliflower manchurian so I’ll have to try making that. Cauliflower is one of my favorite veggies to cook with.
These look absolutely amazing! I will have to try this!
I’ve been super into cooked cauliflower lately so definitely need to try this one. Looks so delicious!!
I feel like cauliflower can be used in everything!
Yummy with the cauliflower tempura bites. My husband will love those. These are on the must-make list!
What a great idea, and the sauce, oh the sauce sounds magical! Yum!
It’s made of fairy dust and dreams ?