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
Stir fry sauce
- ½ tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. vinegar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. water
- 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.
Amazing.... Dishes,.. Way of making kimchi fried rice kinda easy... I simply love this website...
Wei @ Red House Spice
Hi Elaine！Discovered your blog through Pinterest. LOVE IT! It's like an encyclopaedia of Chinese cuisine! Well done! I recently made a cauliflower stir-fry on my blog too. But I couldn't find this type of cauliflower. Only had it when I went back to China.
Thanks for your so kind comments. My family are all the fans of cauliflower. Maybe most Chinese love it too, ?
Comme le dit WEI,je ne connais pas ,moi non plus ,ce type de chou
J'essaierai avec du chou fleur blanc et du chou brocoli. Ce sera certainement très bon. Merci pour cette belle recette ,et bisous Chris 06
Would you pls share where you get the wok from?
It is actually not a wok. It is a serving plate popular in China. We call it dry pot. It is quite small but can heat directly.
Would you pls share where you get the wok?
It is not a wok actually. It is a serving wok used in China usually for mala dry pot dishes. We call it 锅仔 (Guo Zai). If you want it, I can help to ship.
You are incredible and so are your recipes! I wish you inspiration and vitality, always! So you can share this delicious recipes with the world!
this recipe did not work for me. In the first step, there was not enough liquid to soften the cauliflower so after one to two minutes the cauliflower was basically raw and burning (it takes a long time at a low heat for cauliflower to give off liquid) and in the second step there was not enough liquid to keep to keep the starch from seizing up and creating a thick gunk that did not really coat the vegetable. If i did this recipe again, I would add a lot more liquid in the first step and cook it down over say 10 minutes and then a lot more liquid in the second step so the vegetable is evenly flavored.
if your veggies don't cook... try pre-cooking by blanching for 3-4 mins in just enough water to cover & then drain but do not rinse in cold water. i've done this with other dishes and the veggies don't overcook but are just great to then stir fry or mix into a veggie cheese rice combo, etc. also do this for baked casseroles.... i was surprised how well this works. i've always blanched in big pot of water and always seemed to get soggy veggies. maude
Hi Elaine, thank you very much for sharing your recipes! I tried this Kung Pao Cauliflower and we loved it. The only difference I made to the recipe was I added chicken strips to make it more filling for lunch. My husband liked it and asked me to make it again! I have made 3 of your recipes in 3 days and we are liking them all! I am also a fan of Liangpi and am very surprised to find your recipe online. Though I think making my own hand made noodles is too much effort for me. What noodles can I buy instead to make Liangpi?
There is a quick version to use wheat starch directly instead of washing the gluten from a dough. I will introduce that soon on the blog. Keep returned. By the way, can you access to wheat starch?
This is fantastic. Great taste and texture. Thanks
Once again, I'm having it tonight !