Target Health Blog

Sweet and Sour Cauliflower with Chopped Scallion Garnish

April 19, 2021

Target Healthy Eating

The colors in this delicious dish make for a striking presentation; plus, it's very easy to make. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
I've used this recipe as an appetizer and as a side dish veggie that goes well with an all-vegetarian meal. Lovely with fish or poultry. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC


1 cauliflower (the larger the better), broken into bite-size florets.

1 teaspoon chili powder

3/4 cups cold water

Extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil (for frying) or canola oil

2 anchovy fillets + 2 garlic cloves mashed into a paste.

1/4 cup almond flour

1 and 1/2 corn starch

Different ingredients for sweet & sour sauce

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 anchovy fillets + 2 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste

2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

1 Tablespoon ketchup or tomato paste

2 Tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon corn starch

1/2 cup water (use 1/4 cup at a time)

1 teaspoon chili powder ( or slightly less spicy, add 2 big pinches chili flakes)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or canola oil or peanut oil

Pinch black pepper (to your taste)

Bunch scallions, finely chopped (or chives finely chopped)

Easy to find ingredients. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC

Directions for Frying Cauliflower

1.     Cut cauliflower in half & then in quarters. Pull bite-size florets, apart and put into a large bowl.

2.     In large bowl, put cauliflower florets and fill bowl with hot water to cover the florets. Cover the bowl and keep on counter for 15 minutes. Then using a colander, pour florets, so water drains out. Set aside colander with florets and pat dry before dipping them into batter.

3.     While cauliflower sits in the bowl of water, chop the scallions well, then set aside.

4.     If you haven't already made it, make a paste out of the anchovies and garlic cloves, in a mortar & pestle.

5.     In a second wide bowl, add the almond flour, cornstarch and chili powder and stir to combine.

6.     Next, to the dry ingredients, add the anchovy/garlic paste you made earlier. Stir to combine well. Now, add a little water at a time, to make the batter the right consistency. Be sure to add the water very slowly, so you have time to judge the thickness of the batter. You want it to be like pancake batter or cake batter.

7.     Take out the pan you're using to fry the cauliflower and add the oil. Turn heat to medium high.

8.     Now, dip the cauliflower florets, one by one, into the batter, cover all sides. Then fry in pan. Use tongs gingerly and be sure all sides of the floret are cooked and are crisp and golden. When done, remove and place on paper towel to drain the oil. You can fry many at one time, but only one layer at a time.

Cauliflower florets covered with hot water for 15 minutes. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Chop the scallions ahead of time. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
In a mixing bowl: flour, cornstarch and chili powder. Mix well. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Adding water to make the batter to dip cauliflower florets in. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Chop the onion well (for the sauce). ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
I like to use a mortar & pestle to grind things like anchovies & garlic cloves. Remember to do this for both the cauliflower and the sauce. You can do both at once, and simply divide in half. Or, do the grinding twice. I like to use these two ingredients as a salt substitute, when appropriate. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
When I use a mortar & pestle, my mind drifts back into history, appreciating the fact that, this particular kitchen tool has been around since early humans began. We're all a part of a long continuum. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
The anchovy/garlic paste is nearly done. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Heating up the pan for sauce - next cooking step. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Just added chopped onions and the anchovy/garlic paste. I love using my paste, when possible as a substitute for salt, as well as the added flavor of more garlic. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Sauce (Steps 3 & 4) Add chili powder & black pepper to the soy sauce, ketchup or tomato paste, and honey. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Sauce (Steps 3 & 4) - This is what it looks like after you mix all the ingredients together. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Sauce-Step 5: Making the slurry.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Slurry has been added to the sauce ingredients in the pan. Will slowly bubble now, for 5 minutes, to reduce the liquid content, just a little. Then the battered florets will be added.  ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Cauliflower florets are being dipped into the batter here. Be sure to coat all sides of the florets, then cook in a pan that you have heated and added some oil to. After florets are golden brown on all sides, you will drain them on paper towel, before adding to the sauce. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Cauliflower florets cooking in oil. Be sure all sides turn a golden brown. Mmm, everything smells so-o good. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
The cooked florets are draining on paper towel, before adding to the sauce, that's in the pan. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
By bubbling the sauce for 5 minutes, it has thickened slightly and is ready for the florets to be added, as final step of the recipe. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC
Here is what the completed recipe should look like.  Hopefully, the pan you use to make the sauce can be used from stove to table.  If not, transfer the Sweet & Sour Cauliflower to a serving bowl or platter and serve with fish or poultry over rice. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC

Directions for Sauce

1.     In pan that can go from stove to table (from cookware to serve ware), heat the oil over medium high heat.

2.     Add the anchovy/garlic paste you made earlier, then add the onion, the chopped garlic and combine with the paste.

3.     Lower the heat and add either the chili powder or the pinches of chili flakes, black pepper and mix all together well.

4.     Add the soy sauce, ketchup or tomato paste, and honey. Mix well. Keep heat on simmer and cover.

5.     In a small bowl, add the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water. Mix well until this mixture (called a slurry) is smooth with no lumps.

6.     Add your slurry plus the other 1/4 cup cold water to the sauce and turn the heat back up to medium high. Bring this mixture to a boil, then lower heat to a slow bubble for 5 minutes. The goal here is to reduce the liquid slightly and thicken the sauce.

7.     Finally, slowly add the crispy cauliflower florets to the pan with sauce. Very slowly, coat the cauliflower. Go slow, in coating each floret. You don't want to mistakenly mash the cauliflower or chip off any of the golden crispy crust by mixing the sauce with the cauliflower too quickly. Mix, here, in slow motion.

8.     Now, you're ready to bring this delicious cauliflower to the table, so sprinkle some finely chopped scallions (or chives) over the florets and serve while nice and hot.

We started our dinner with small slices of quiche.  The entree was Sweet & Sour Cauliflower, over rice, with roast chicken and a crisp salad. Fresh fruit with a little cheese was dessert. We served Beaujolais and chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

Here's some music that was in the background (from one of many playlists, I have compiled).  This is wonderful music for relaxation and meditation. Try, listening, if you have trouble going to sleep.  For my dear husband and me, music has helped us get through the Covid-19 pandemic, in one (relatively sane) piece.

Christoph W. Gluck - Orfeo ed Euridice - Dance of the Blessed Spirits

Lang Lang playing Piano Concerto #5 (Adagio only) by Ludwig van Beethoven

Lang Lang playing Frederick Chopin, Piano Concerto #1 (Larghetto only)

Franz Schubert - Serenade

Beaujolais and chilled Sauvignon Blanc were two different wines that went well with the Sweet and Sour Cauliflower ©Joyce Hays, Target Health LLC

You can carry on, the torch of peace and brotherhood and simply live by the Golden Rule!

Bon Appetit!

From   Our Table to Yours

Have a Great Week Everyone!

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