Orange cauliflower is a vegetarian version of the popular Chinese dish orange chicken. The best part of this vegan cauliflower appetiser is that the battered florets are not deep-fried, they are rather baked to make it a healthy dish.
This sweet and spicy Asian cauliflower is a fantastic dish to have as a mid-week meal that goes well even with plain rice. It is a great dish to cook specifically for those family members or friends who hate cauliflower. This delicious dish would turn them into cauliflower lovers and they end up asking you to make it more often.
The incredibly appetising vegan orange cauliflower is sure to appeal to both kids and adults taste buds. It is an ideal dish to include in a weekly menu. Cauliflower is one such vegetable to have on hand that could be turned into a mouth-watering appetiser such as this orange cauliflower, gobi 65 or honey garlic cauliflower, a simple yet tasty side dish aloo gobi to go with flatbreads or a quick vegetable masala rice.
- Orange Juice: I use freshly squeezed orange juice.
- Oil: I use live oil for frying ginger and garlic. A little sesame oil to impart nutty flavour.
- Vegatables and Condiments: Fresh ginger, garlic, spring onion, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, chill sauce/ any hot sauce, corn starch and a little water to make a corn slurry. Sesame seeds to garnish.
- Cauliflower: Always use fresh cauliflower.
- Flour and Spices: Corn flour, plain flour, salt and paprika.
- Water: To make a batter.
See the recipe card for quantities.
To bake cauliflower
Wash and cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets.
Put the florets in a deep bottomed container, pour boiling water over the florets until they are submerged and close the container with a lid/plate. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
Drain the water and leave the florets in the colander to remove any excess water.
Transfer the florets onto a kitchen towel to remove any excess water
Preheat the oven to 200C (395F)
Meanwhile, combine the plain flour, cornflour (corn starch), salt and paprika in a large bowl.
Add water gradually and whisk to make a batter.
Dip the florets in the batter and coat well.
Arrange the florets in a lined baking tray with little spacing between florets.
Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the florets are crispy and golden brown. Turn the florets halfway through for even baking.
Take the tray out of the oven and put it on the cooling rack.
To make an orange sauce
Combine the orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, chilli sauce and sesame oil in a bowl.
To make cornflour slurry, combine cornflour and water in a small bowl. Keep it aside.
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, sauté the garlic and ginger for a few seconds until fragrant.
Now slightly reduce the heat, add the orange juice mixture, brown sugar, cornflour slurry and stir well.
Simmer it for 5 minutes until the sauce bubbles, slightly thicken and become sticky.
Add the baked florets and toss well until they are well coated with orange sauce.
Finally, mix in spring onion.
Enjoy the delicious baked orange cauliflower topped with sesame seeds on its own or with rice.
Tips & Tricks
Use freshly squeezed orange juice as the store-bought juice may contain unnecessary preservatives and artificial sweeteners. Moreover, fresh orange juice imparts amazing flavour and taste.
Soaking cauliflower florets in boiling water helps to remove any stubborn dirt and reduce the baking time.
I haven't added salt in either orange sauce as the soy sauce has added salt and so has the baked cauliflower. However, be mindful if you consider adding salt in an orange sauce.
Prepare the orange sauce while cauliflower is baking. The sauce takes less than 10 minutes to make so start making it when cauliflower is halfway through baking.
Keep an eye on the florets while baking as the baking time may vary with different ovens.
Flip the florets halfway through to ensure even baking.
Use just enough sauce to coat the baked cauliflower. Put the remaining sauce in a bowl so anyone who chooses to have extra sauce can use it. Alternatively, store it in an airtight container in the fridge to use for the next batch of orange cauliflower if you plan to cook in a couple of days.
Sesame oil infuses a rich nutty flavour and elevates the authentic Asian flavours of the dish.
Gluten-free: Replace the cornflour (corn starch) with gluten-free flour such as tapioca starch and substitute plain flour with rice flour. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, however, consider using less than the quantity of soy sauce mentioned here.
Orange cauliflower tastes best when enjoyed immediately after cooking. However, leftovers could be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a day or two in the fridge. Ensure to reheat it in the microwave or oven until the florets are piping hot. However, the cauliflower bites may not be crispy.
If you want to make it ahead of time as a part of weekly meal prep, then I would suggest preparing the orange sauce, baking the battered cauliflower and storing them in an airtight container in a fridge 2 days before you plan to make them. Reheat the sauce in the microwave and battered florets in the oven. Toss the florets in the sauce and garnish them with sesame seeds and chopped spring onion.
Enjoy it as an appetiser or a snack on its own.
It goes well with any Asian main dishes such as fried rice, noodles or serve with just plain rice.
More Appetiser Recipes
📖 Recipe Card
1 cup = 250ml ; 1 Tablespoon = 15ml ; 1 Teaspoon = 5ml
For baked cauliflower
- 405 gms (or) 3 cups (or) 1 head Cauliflower cut into bite-size florets
- 90 gms (or) ½ cup Plain flour/ All purpose flour
- 30 gms (or) 3 Tablesppons Corn Flour/Corn Starch
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- Salt as required
- Water as required to make a batter
For orange sauce
- 2 Teaspoon Olive Oil
- ½ inch (or) ½ Teaspoon Ginger finely chopped
- 2 cloves (or) 1 teaspoon Garlic finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Chilli Sauce/Hot Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
- ½ Teaspoon Vinegar
- 1 cup Orange Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
- 2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
- 1 Teaspoons Corn Flour/Corn Starch
- Spring Onion handful
- ⅓ cup Water add more if required
For baked cauliflower
- Wash and cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets.405 gms (or) 3 cups (or) 1 head Cauliflower
- Put the florets in a deep bottomed container, pour boiling water over the florets until they are submerged and close the container with a lid/plate. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.405 gms (or) 3 cups (or) 1 head Cauliflower
- Drain the water and leave the florets in the colander to remove any excess water.
- Transfer the florets onto a kitchen towel to remove any excess water.
- Preheat the oven to 200C (395F)
- Meanwhile, combine the plain flour, cornflour (corn starch), salt and paprika in a large bowl.90 gms (or) ½ cup Plain flour/ All purpose flour, 30 gms (or) 3 Tablesppons Corn Flour/Corn Starch, Salt, 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- Add water gradually and whisk to make a batter.Water
- Dip the florets in the batter and coat well.405 gms (or) 3 cups (or) 1 head Cauliflower
- Arrange the florets in a lined baking tray with little spacing between florets
- Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the florets are crispy turning them half way through to ensure even baking.
- Take the tray out of the oven and put it on the cooling rack.
To make an orange sauce
- Combine the orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, chilli sauce and sesame oil in a bowl.1 Tablespoon Chilli Sauce/Hot Sauce, 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce, ½ Teaspoon Vinegar, 1 cup Orange Juice, 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
- To make cornflour slurry, combine cornflour and water in a small bowl. Keep it aside.1 Teaspoons Corn Flour/Corn Starch, ⅓ cup Water
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.2 Teaspoon Olive Oil
- Once the oil is hot, sauté the garlic and ginger for a few seconds until fragrant.½ inch (or) ½ Teaspoon Ginger, 2 cloves (or) 1 teaspoon Garlic
- Now slightly reduce the heat, add the orange juice mixture, brown sugar, cornflour slurry and stir well.2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
- Simmer it for 5 minutes until the sauce bubbles, slightly thicken and become sticky.
- Add the baked florets and toss well until they are well coated with orange sauce.
- Finally, mix in spring onion.
KEEP IN TOUCH:
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