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general tso's cauliflower, Pinch of Yum

General Tso’s Cauliflower

67 reviews / 4.3 average

Oh hey. Let’s stuff our faces with General Tso’s Cauliflower and pretend it’s normal. K? Yes? We doin this?

Okay, maybe I’m out of line. I admit to the food-blogger cauliflower-loving weirdness today.

But guys. BE RATIONAL for two seconds, puhhlease. Obviously weird and delicious are not mutually exclusive, which means PARTY IN YOUR MOUTH! With General Tso’s Cauliflower!

I mean, think about what this recipe means. It means you’re going to fry up some golden brown fried bits of cauliflower and coat them in a luscious sweet and savory sauce. Ummmmright? It is the definition of BOTH weird and delicious. Weirdlicious? No. I’m sorry. We crossed a line there.

Just delete everything except the part about the delicious party in your mouth. THAT is THIS.

HOW TO MAKE OUR GENERAL TSO’S CAULIFLOWER (1 MIN):

cauliflower close up with a spoon

Here’s the deal with this recipe. You’re probably not going to make it tonight because it’s a Monday and is it just me or are Mondays always a circus? So listen to me: don’t try to make it tonight. Is that un-helpful? Just… I feel like we’re the same on this.

This recipe was not created for the Mondays of the world, unless it would involve a restaurant or a takeout box or something that wasn’t YOU in your kitchen frying a battered-up batch of cauliflower florets while simmering a made-from-scratch sauce on the side. I’m having a vision of you doing this post-work, and going to the grocery store at 5pm and finally sitting down to eat this at 10pm after sweating it out for a few hours over a hot pot of oil and then facing an epic clean up situation, and truthfully, it is all kinds of wrong. (yum tho)

So no, not for Mondays. Life gives us enough on Mondays.

BUT.

Fried Cauliflower

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a time and a place. As of last week, there is *always* a time and a place in my life for that saucy meets crunchy meets sticky General Tso’s Cauliflower. Like, always, as often as possible, yes more please.

This recipe was made for those nights when you have a little more time (think, like, Wednesday. Wednesdays are just nicer, aren’t they?), and you maybe already have a stocked kitchen, and you’re excited to try something new, and you are feeling little more ambitious than the usual MUST GET SUSHI IN MOUTH ASAP kinda thing.*

*To concerned parties: I really do eat food besides takeout sushi. Such as the most delicious ever homemade fried cauliflower coated with a savory sweet General Tso’s sauce because General Tso’s Cauliflower would be a totally regular thing to make for dinner. Totally. At this point these items are making up 90% of my life, so yes, I’m eating super well. Don’t be concerned.

cauliflower on a plate

Friends.

If you like meatless.

If you like Asian-y flavors.

If you like your life to be a little quirky.

cauliflower on a plate with a spoon and a napkin

Find a way to make yourself some General Tso’s Cauliflower, because obviously. Life’s way too short to not.

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General Tso's Cauliflower in a pan with a spoon.

General Tso’s Cauliflower


  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 68 1x

Description

General Tso’s Cauliflower – golden brown crispy fried cauliflower tossed in a made-from-scratch savory-sweet sauce. Awesome vegetarian / meatless recipe.


Ingredients

Scale

For the General Tso’s Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 knob of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar (more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1-2 tablespoons of cold water

For the Batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs
  • water as needed (about 1/2 cup)

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • a deep layer of oil for frying
  • scallions and sesame seeds for topping

Instructions

  1. General Tso’s Sauce: Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a minute or two. Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Bring to a low boil; simmer for another 20-30 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Add more sweetness, citrus, etc. to your taste.
  2. Cauliflower Batter: Whisk all the batter ingredients until a loose batter forms. The batter should be thick enough to cling to the cauliflower and cover it but stay loose enough to easily drip off (adjust thickness with water).
  3. Cauliflower Frying: Pour oil into a heavy bottomed skillet to make it deep enough so it will cover the cauliflower about halfway (probably ends up being a few cups). Heat the oil over medium heat. Drop a small bit of batter in the oil to test it – when it rises to the top and bubbles, the oil is ready. Dip cauliflower florets in the batter and let the excess drip off before gently setting in the oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side, then flip, repeating sides several times if necessary until you get a nice golden brown fried exterior. The additional frying time helps make it a little crunchier, which I very much like. 🙂 Remove and set on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath (again, rather than putting it all on a plate or bowl with paper towels, this keeps it crispy vs. soggy).
  4. Serving: Toss the fried cauliflower with the sauce (enough just to cover) and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds for serving. Serve with rice.

Notes

We tried this with sautéed (not battered and fried) cauliflower and it worked but wasn’t nearly as good.

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Cuisine: Asian-Inspired

Keywords: general tso’s cauliflower, fried cauliflower, asian cauliflower recipe

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This recipe inspired and advised by this article, this recipe, and the General Tso’s Chicken in this cookbook.

this post contains affiliate links.

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general tso's cauliflower, Pinch of Yum

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Recipe rating

253 Comments

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Hadas

      The batter and the instructions for frying are excellent. My partner and I found the sauce to be far too salty, unfortunately – it ruins the flavor altogheter (we’re salvaging ours by dousing it in honey). And we used *low sodium* soy sauce. I recommend halving the amount of soy sauce – instead of 1/2 cup soy sauce, use 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 cup water (or broth). If you like your general tao sauce sweeter, add honey or maple to the sauce while cooking.






  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Love your “no nutrition facts for fried foods rule.” This should be universal! 😉 Looks absolutely divine. I almost bought cauliflower at the market yesterday, and now I really wish I had. Wednesday it is, then!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Emily

      We have an air fryer and while, of course, you don’t get the same results it’s still crispy without any risk of splashing oil. Great if you have little ones or dogs who like to hang out by your feet while you cook! I super recommend one, and I’ve seen great deals on brand new air fryers people got at Christmas but haven’t opened on Facebook marketplace.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Dori

    I see this in my inbox and think:
    #1 – no way this looks like cauliflower
    #2 – wonder what the nutrition info looks like on this one!
    I laughed sooooo hard at the last line of this post. Love your house rules!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Amy

        I added a little Siracha for heat and the juice of half a tangerine to the sauce. Tastes great!






        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Amy

          You can coat it only in cornstarch and then pan fry it in oil for an extra crispy light texture too

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Cheryl

    I would LOVE to make this and Monday is my “day off.” I am retired but Monday is the day when I have nothing scheduled BUT cauliflower is $1.69 a pound here and I will NOT pay that so I will save the recipe for when the price comes down. I am eager to try this as it sounds S-O-O good.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Ann

    For the General Tso’s Cauliflower, is the cornstarch 2/3 cup or a different measure? Can the cauliflower be fried in a Wok?

    Thanks!

    Ann

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kat

    I just had to thank you for this post in my email! I needed some giggles and I got them from you. 🙂
    It started with me answering you when I read, “K? Yes? We doing this?” and continued through the entire post, with extra giggles from me imagining my 17 yr old son’s face when I tell him that he just ate fried cauliflower he initially thought was chicken. Thank you for the smiles, and the delicious sounding recipe!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Wowzers, but that looks good. I used to love Chinese food, but now that we eat mostly vegetarian and only organic, I haven’t been able to find a single place that can serve something like this adaptation of one of my favorite dishes. Fantastic recipe! Thank you.






      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Cecilia

        Do u have a recipe i think it called pankora, its chopped up veg. in a batter. Its a Indian dish, from india, thankx

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      especially day-after-conference!! I got this post all scheduled last night and took it easy today. 🙂 That was one busy weekend!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Canola oil is genetically modified and causes health problems

        Not a healthy oil it is genetically modified and ruins this wonderful recipe

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    emily

    I love love love your site and recipes! This looks delicious! Quick question- what oil would you recommend for frying the cauliflower? Thanks!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Oh I can’t wait to try this recipe!! I’m always up for some homemade take-out 🙂 Looks absolutely delicious! So great to meet you this past weekend, too, what an amazing conference!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Di

    Just wondering if you have any ideas on how to do this in the oven without the deep frying ? I just don’t have the equipment for that !

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Sharon

      I did it in the oven…toss florets in oil and corn starch then bake 30 min at 420 degrees, turning over halfway. Honestly just did it this way since it’s way easier.






  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Benita

    I think I hear the General calling my name! I am soooo making this for dinner tomorrow!