Monday, April 28, 2014

Bang Bang Cauliflower

Bang Bang Cauliflower 2.jpg

You might remember that last month I told you about my introduction to the Secret Recipe Club.  In case you missed that, the Secret Recipe Club is a cooking group where each month we are assigned another blog from which we will choose a recipe to make and write a post about.  This is done in secret (hence Secret Recipe Club), so no one knows who is cooking from which blog until everyone puts up their post on reveal day.

My expectations were running high going into last month's reveal, and I can happily say I was not disappointed.  The warmth of the welcome to the group that I received from so many lovely bloggers was simply overwhelming.  Needless to say then, I could scarcely contain my excitement waiting to find out whose blog I would be cooking from this month.  Now I can safely tell you that my assigned blog is Life and Kitchen.

Lindsay is a young mum living in Pittsburgh, and I love that first and foremost she writes her blog for her small daughter, in the hope that one day "Lily will be able to read back over old posts to get recipe ideas and see a small slice of what our life was like when she was too little to remember".  Like me, Lindsay has never been much of a meat-eater, and then in January 2012 she decided to try a meat-free month.  That month turned into a year, that year turned into two, and with each passing month her awareness of the various "injustices" involved in meat production have grown stronger.  This really resonated with me.  I've flirted on numerous occasions with having meat-free months, and in the long-term I dream of potentially becoming a vegetarian, but I seem to invariably get tripped up by a pork chop or strip of bacon!  I think I would struggle to also live without salmon.  Still, like Lindsay, an awareness of both the ethical and environmental issues surrounding the food we eat is important to me.

Lindsay had so many great dishes I was tempted by - Spinach Artichoke Tarts, Baked Lemon Pasta, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Nutella Fudge with Sea Salt, Lemon Poppy Seed Baked Donuts, and many more, but you all know how much I love a good cauliflower recipe, so as soon as I stumbled across her Bang Bang Cauliflower it was a no-brainer.

In short this is cauliflower, dipped in a batter and fried until golden and crispy, then smothered in a delicious chilli sauce.  I made a couple of small changes to the batter recipe, replacing some of the regular flour with rice flour and adding some smoky paprika and ground cumin to give it an extra hit of flavour.  I also made my own mayonnaise for the bang bang sauce, and replaced hot sriracha sauce with cayenne pepper because I didn't have any hot sauce on hand.  Store bought mayonnaise is absolutely fine by the way, but if you feel inclined to make your own, it's dead easy ... In a small bowl whisk together one egg yolk with a teaspoon of water, then start to add sunflower oil to the egg yolk mixture a few drops at a time, stirring constantly until each addition of oil is fully amalgamated.  Once the yolk starts to thicken a little, you can begin to add the oil in a slow steady stream, until you end up with a very thick emulsion.  Finally, thin to the consistency you want with a little lemon juice or warm water - just add the liquid one teaspoon at a time and whisk it in well.  Season to taste with salt.  And voila - mayonnaise!

Mayonnaise.jpg

In short this dish was wonderful. Let's face it, what's not to love about a pile of batter-dipped, deep-fried vegetables, smothered in a punchy chilli sauce.?!  I happily made a meal of this - it's the perfect dish for a lazy Saturday night dinner (along with a good movie and a bottle of wine) and I will definitely be making this again.   

Bang Bang Cauliflower 1.jpg

Bang Bang Cauliflower Recipe
Adapted (slightly) from recipe by Lindsay
at Life and Kitchen
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

Bang bang sauce
1/2 cup whole egg mayonnaise
1/2 cup Thai sweet chilli sauce
cayenne pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)

Batter
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon smokey paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2x egg yolks
1-1/2 cups cold water

1x head cauliflower, cut into florets
sunflower (or other flavourless) oil
flaky sea salt
large bunch chives, roughly chopped

Begin by making the bang bang sauce.  Whisk mayonnaise and sweet chilli sauce together in a small bowl, and add cayenne pepper to your taste - cayenne can pack a bit of a punch, so begin by adding 1/4 teaspoon, taste and add more as you like.  Set aside.  (This can be made well in advance, and in fact this will make more than you need, but it will keep for ages and would make a great accompaniment to just about anything.)

Pour sunflower oil, to a depth of about 1 cm (1/2 in), into a large deep sided saute pan.  Set over medium-high heat until the surface is rippling, but not quite smoking.

Meanwhile make the batter.  Sift together the flours, paprika and ground cumin into a large bowl.  Add flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, mix lightly, and make a well in the centre.  Whisk egg yolks and water together and pour into the dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined.

Dip the cauliflower pieces into the batter, and immediately drop carefully into the hot oil.  Cook for several minutes, turning regularly until golden all over.  (You will need to do this in batches.)  As cooked, remove from oil, drain on a paper towel, and sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt as each batch is cooked.

Arrange cauliflower pieces on a large platter, smother with the bang bang sauce, and sprinkle over the snipped chives.  Serve immediately.

Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did, and visit the links below to check out all the other great dishes my Secret Recipe Club friends made.

Secret Recipe Club


50 comments:

  1. I would be very, very happy to eat this dish!

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  2. Sounds amazing! Great pick this month :)

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  3. Mmm! Looks sooo good :) Glad you are having a great time in Group D - makes me happy to hear that you had a great welcoming in and are enjoying your time in the SRC so far! Happy Reveal Day

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    1. Thanks, Sarah - I'm loving SRC, and Group D is an awesome group of bloggers.

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  4. Glad to see you are having fun with the SRC! It is indeed THE best virtual party in the blogosphere, I think the concept of choosing a recipe from a blog in secret is genius. Other events in which everyone cooks the exact same recipe are not appealing to me - first I find it a bit boring to see countless recipes for the exact same thing, and second, it leads of some feeling of competition, in my opinion. Not into it. This is a lot more fun!

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    1. Sally, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I also love that you have a whole month to explore and get to know your assigned blog before posting your final dish.

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  5. I am happy to meet Life and Kitchen, and thank you for introducing me to the Bang Bang Cauliflower. This looks like it could easily become my new favorite dish! :)

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    1. Thanks, Joy. It definitely became an instant fave with me.

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  6. That looks WONDERFUL!! Great choice this month!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rebekah and thanks for stopping by - I appreciate your visit :-)

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  7. What a wonderful recipe for cauliflower which happens to be one of my favorites. The SRC sounds like a good time. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Cheri. Cauliflower is one of my favourites too, in fact I only just realised that I probably have a disproportionate number of cauliflower recipes on this blog :-)

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  8. This looks ABSOLUTELY delicious! I think I could even get my husband, who doesn't care for cauliflower, to eat this.

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    1. Thanks, Pam. This is definitely a good way of getting those who are not particularly sold on cauliflower to eat it. Good way of getting vegetables into children too, I imagine - you might just want to leave out the hot chilli.

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  9. Bang bang chicken has been on my list of things to cook, but I love the idea of using cauliflower instead.

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    1. Erin, bang bang chicken has been on my list forever too. Now I really want to try it.

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    1. Thanks, Pam - I think you'd really like this one.

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  11. Great SRC pick!! Looks wonderful~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

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    1. Thanks, Lynn, and thanks for taking the time to stop by.

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  12. This looks delicious!

    I had your blog for this month's SRC and I made your double chocolate raspberry brownies. I sent them along with my husband to work and they were a hit! Thank you!

    It was wonderful being able to look through your beautiful blog! Take Care!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Bean. You did a great job of the brownies, and I'm so pleased everyone enjoyed them.

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  13. OMG I need to make this immediately! That looks amazing!!

    Visiting from Group A :)

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    1. Thanks, Sara - I'm so pleased you took time to visit :-)

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  14. Completely delicious looking! Fabulous SRC pick :-)

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  15. This dish looks so good. Group D rocks!

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    1. Thanks, Karen. You're so right - Group D totally rocks :-)

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  16. I have a head of cauliflower in my fridge but its definitely not my favorite, my it may be if I made it like this!

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    1. Mary Kay, I think this is the perfect dish for those who are not complete cauliflower-lovers. Hope you give it a try.

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  17. Just popped by to let you know you,ve been featured today over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers
    PS love your bang bang!

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    1. Thanks, Carole, and thanks for the feature also.

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  18. Wow this looks so tempting! It's definitely a different way to eat cauliflower, can't wait to try it :)

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    1. Thank you. You're right - it is very different. I've made lots of cauliflower dishes before, but I'd never had one like this. I'll definitely be making it again.

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  19. Now this is cauliflower at it's best! That sauce sounds lick-the-bowl good!

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    1. Thanks, Joanne. It is entirely possible to just eat the sauce by the spoonful :-)

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  20. I shy away from deep-frying but this sounds incredible! Great pick!

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    1. Thanks, JJ - I generally avoid deep frying too, and will usually see if there is a way it can be baked instead, but just this once it was totally worthwhile.

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  21. I love cauliflower!!! What a great pick this month. And I'm so glad you're enjoying this group :-)

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    1. Thanks, Susan - I'm thoroughly enjoying this group - a great reminder of what a wonderfully open-hearted community of people can be found in this food blogging world :-)

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  22. Yum! I don't usually like cauliflower, but will have to make an exception for this. Great pick!

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    1. I think this might be one of those dishes that would convert a non-cauliflower lover - especially if you eat them while still hot and straight from the pan.

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  23. this looks awesome and I must check out her blog

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca. I'm sure you'd find lots to like on Lindsay's blog.

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  24. Any recommendations for how to make this vegan friendly?!

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    1. Hi Sally Ann - thanks for your question. I haven't tried them, but I believe there a number of suitable egg replacements out there that you could use to replace the egg yolk in the batter. Similarly, if you google "vegan mayonnaise", you can find a number of recipes for making a suitable homemade mayo as the base for your sauce. I'd love to know how you get on.

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