If you're looking for a delicious and healthier alternative to the classic Chinese dish, Kung Pao Chicken, try kung pao veggies like this kung pao cauliflower and kung pao mushrooms. The combination of crunchy cauliflower and savory sauce will combine so well and make it unbelievably delicious.
What's Kung Pao flavor
Kung pao flavor is derived from the representative Sichuan dish kung pao chicken. Kung pao chicken is cooked with diced chicken breast and fried peanuts and paired with a savory kung pao sauce. Covered evenly by the thick kung pao sauce, kung pao dishes appear glistering and attractive. Unlike most strong-flavored Sichuan dishes with a pungent smell and hot and spicy flavor, kung pao dishes offer a sweet and sour taste with a slight spiciness. The deliciousness and fragrance of the kung pao flavor make kung pao dishes become popular among diners at home and abroad. Making perfect kung pao sauce at home is simple but complex. This detailed guide is about preparing a kung pao sauce and applying it to your preferred vegetables and ingredients.
How Kung Pao sauce works with veggies
Although the sauce is famous along with kung pao chicken, it can be used to cook lots of veggies. My favorite veggie match with kung pao sauce is cauliflower, king oyster mushroom, and lotus root. Crunchy veggies or soft mushrooms can absorb the flavors and combine into something quite delicious but totally different from Kung pao chicken.
Types of cauliflower to choose
There are two types of cauliflower, one with a longer stem and the other much shorter and stronger. I will recommend using cauliflower with a long and thin stem.
Do I need to blanch the cauliflower?
No. In most Chinese-style vegetable stir-fry recipes, we used to blanch cauliflower to shorten the stir-frying time. But this method does not work for this one. We have tested that blanching will increase the water content of the cauliflower and dilute the flavors of kung pao sauce.
Alternatively, we use a method of dry frying, which is extremely popular in Sichuan cuisine. We cook the cauliflower with a small amount of oil for a longer time to get the slightly dried cauliflower pieces. So the flavors of the king pao sauce can taste ever stronger and more concentrated.
The Chinese large onions
Chinese large green onion (大葱) or large scallion is a thick, large scallion- It has a much larger white portion at the base. You may find they look similar to leeks but it is much more tender and juicy. You can use scallions to replace it but remember only use the white part. Or you can skip this for this particular Kong Pao cauliflower.
Dry-frying the cauliflower: add a very small amount of oil to a wok and then fry the cauliflower for around 2 minutes until it becomes soft. You need to keep stirring to make sure that the cauliflower is evenly cooked.
Heat oil in a pan and fry ginger, garlic, Sichuan peppercorn, and dried chili pepper until aromatic.
Then place the cauliflower in. Fry for another half minute.
Stir the kung pao sauce first and then pour it. Let the sauce heat for around 10 seconds.
Add large scallions and toasted peanuts. Give everything a big stir fry and then serve immediately.
Other Kung Pao Dishes to try
Kung Pao Cauliflower
- ½ head of cauliflower head cut into small floret pieces
- 2 tbsp. of cooking oil
- 1 Chinese large onion , cut into 2cm sections
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 inch ginger sliced
- ½ cup roasted peanuts
- 3 ~5 dried chili peppers , cut into small pieces
- 1 tbsp. Sichuan pepper
- Cut cauliflower into smaller floret pieces.
- In a small bowl, mix all the ingredient for stir fry sauce and set aside.
- Dry-frying the cauliflower: add a very small amount of oil to a wok and then fry the cauliflower for around 2 minutes until it becomes soft. You need to keep stirring to make sure that the cauliflower is evenly cooked.
- Heat oil in a pan and fry ginger, garlic, Sichuan peppercorn, and dried chili pepper until aromatic. With slow fire.
- Then place the cauliflower in. Fry for another half minute.