Orange Cauliflower is our delicious vegan version of the popular Asian orange chicken dish.
I know we already have so many cauliflower recipes on our blog, but I'm afraid there are still quite a few more to come! Cauliflower is one of our favourite veggies. It's so versatile and can be incorporated in many recipes to make them tastier and healthier, like this yummy, baked Asian-style orange cauliflower.
Our Asian-style orange cauliflower is a vegan alternative to the classic Asian orange chicken dish. We bread and bake the cauliflower so it's really crunchy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. We use Quely breadcrumbs, a local brand that is always our favourite choice when it comes to making breaded cauliflower. It makes these baked cauliflower bites totally crispy and delicious.
The orange sauce is just amazing. Sweet, spicy and packed full of flavour from the fresh orange juice. We use a good amount of orange juice and then reduce the sauce to pack in the flavour.
This recipe is a great choice for when you are craving take-out food on a weekday. Making it at home is a healthier and cheaper option, and it doesn't take long to cook. While the cauliflower is baking in the oven, you can prepare the rice and sauce.
How to Prepare the Cauliflower
Cauliflower. For this recipe, we use a whole cauliflower head. We always try to get a big, fresh and good looking cauliflower. You will need medium-size florets. If the florets are too small, they will cook too fast and will soak up too much batter.
Flour. You can use whole-wheat or all-purpose flour. We like using whole-wheat as it makes the coating more nutritious.
Spices. To give some extra flavour to our coating, we use cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. This will make the batter tastier and give your cauliflower florets a deeper flavour.
Plant-based milk. To prepare the batter, we use plant-based milk with no added sugars. Our favourite is soy milk as it doesn't overpower the taste of the batter.
Breadcrumbs. To bread the cauliflower, use fine breadcrumbs. In our pantry, we always have “Quelitas”, local cracker crumbs that make your coatings crunchier and tastier. You can use any type of fine breadcrumbs, or even make your own with a food processor.
- Mix the flour, spices, and plant-based milk in a big bowl. Combine well until you have a perfectly smooth batter with no lumps.
- Cut the cauliflower into florets, add to the batter and ensure they are all completely coated.
- Now the cauliflower florets need to be breaded. Using your hands, bread each floret by dipping it into the breadcrumbs and place on a baking tray. Leave some space between each floret to ensure they all get extra crispy in the oven.
- Bake for about 30 minutes at 200C / 400F. We place a silicone baking mat on our tray so the cauliflower doesn’t stick to the bottom and the tray doesn't get dirty. You will need to flip the cauliflower halfway to ensure that it cooks perfectly on both sides.
How to prepare the Orange Sauce
While the cauliflower is baking, you can get the sauce ready. For our Asian-style orange cauliflower, we want a thick and sticky sauce with an in-depth flavour.
To make a delicious orange sauce, you will need to get good quality and juicy oranges. Make sure to use organic oranges to prepare this recipe. As we are using the zest for this dish, we strongly recommend to use organic products. Otherwise the sauce could come out a bit bitter.
First, heat some sesame oil in a pan and add garlic and ginger paste. For this part, we use our garlic and ginger presser. You can finely chop them instead, but we find that you get more flavour from the paste. Add chilli flakes (skip this ingredient for a mild dish) and turmeric powder.
Add freshly squeezed orange juice, vegetable stock or water, orange zest, soy sauce, rice vinegar, light brown sugar and then leave it simmering for a few minutes before adding the cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the sauce. If you like your orange sauce thicker you can always add some more cornstarch. We like to have enough sauce to coat all the cauliflower florets and some extra sauce to serve on top of the rice.
Once the cauliflower is baked and the sauce is ready, coat the cauliflower with the orange sauce. If you have some leftover sauce after coating the cauliflower, keep it in a pinch bowl and serve it on the side. It's so delicious that people may want to add some extra sauce on their rice.
Our favourite way to serve orange cauliflower is with steamed rice. In a serving bowl, add rice and place the orange cauliflower on top. Drizzle some extra sauce over it and sprinkle with sesame seeds and finely chopped spring onions.
This recipe is best eaten right after cooking it, the sauce will stay perfect and the cauliflower crunchy. If you have any leftovers, store in an air-tight container and reheat using a microwave, oven or pan.
More recipes using Cauliflower
If you love cauliflower as much as we do, have a look at our other recipes:
Asian-Style Orange Cauliflower
- 1 cauliflower head
- 1 cup flour whole-wheat or regular
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 cup plant-based milk unsweetened
- 2 cups fine bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes optional for spiciness
- 1 ½ cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup water or vegetable stock
- Orange zest from one orange
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoon corn starch
- 3 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F
- Cut the cauliflower into florets. In a big bowl, mix the flour, pepper, salt, coriander and cumin powder. Add the plant-based milk and whisk until you have a uniform batter.
- Transfer the cauliflower florets into the batter and mix well until they are fully coated. In a separate bowl, add the fine breadcrumbs and dip each cauliflower floret into the bread crumbs until perfectly coated. The results will be better if you do it one by one even if it takes a bit longer.
- Place the cauliflower on a baking tray and bake for about 40 minutes. Flip the cauliflower halfway to ensure that it cooks perfectly on both sides. Make sure not to crowd the baking tray with the cauliflower so that it gets extra crispy, use two trays if needed.
- To prepare the sauce, heat some sesame oil in a pan and add crushed or finely chopped garlic and ginger.
- Add chilli flakes (skip this ingredient for a mild dish) and turmeric powder.
- After 1-2 minutes you can add the freshly squeezed orange juice, vegetable stock, orange zest, soy sauce, rice vinegar, light brown sugar and leave it simmering for a few minutes.
- In a small bowl add the corn starch and lukewarm water. Mix well and add into the pan to thicken the sauce. Bring the sauce to simmer and keep stirring until thickened.
- When the cauliflower is ready, add into the sauce pan and mix well so all the cauliflower florets are coated with the orange sauce.
- Serve with steamed rice, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.