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Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

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close up overhead shot of a plate of Sticky Sesame Cauliflower garnished with green onions and sesame seeds
Whenever you’re craving a meal that's big on taste, this sticky sesame cauliflower will be the perfect flavorful choice.
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Table of Contents
  1. Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Sticky sesame cauliflower is a delicious vegetarian dinner that absolutely anyone will enjoy! Crispy fried cauliflower is tossed in a homemade Asian-inspired sweet sesame sauce and served over rice to create a flavorful main course dish.

close up shot of a plate of Sticky Sesame Cauliflower garnished with green onions and sesame seeds

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Ingredients

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For the Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Sticky Sesame Sauce

  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1½ tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1½ tablespoons water

PRO TIP:

You can find sesame oil in two places at the grocery store. It can be found in the baking aisle in the oil section. You can also find it with Asian foods. It is usually cheaper if you pick the oil that is in with the Asian foods.

For the Garnish

  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 5 green onions, sliced

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

RICE: This sticky sesame cauliflower recipe is also delicious when served with brown rice. You may also wish to cook the rice in a rice cooker instead of in a pot on the stove. Whichever cooking method you choose, just be sure to follow the directions on the package of rice for cooking.

SPICE: If you love to add some heat to your food, this is a great recipe for you. Try adding a dash of crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce. You might also enjoy a few dashes of sriracha sauce or another hot sauce.

kitchen tools you actually need

How To Make This Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Recipe

STEP ONE: Cook rice according to the package directions, then set aside.

STEP TWO: In a medium saucepan, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, ketchup, honey, sesame oil, light brown sugar, garlic paste, ginger paste, and chicken broth. Whisk the sauce ingredients together and bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat.

sauce ingredients whisked together in a pot

STEP THREE: In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water and whisk until smooth.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

The cornstarch slurry will help thicken up the sauce.

cornstarch and water mixture added to the sauce ingredients in a pot

STEP FOUR: Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling sauce. Reduce the stove to low heat and simmer while you prepare the cauliflower, stirring occasionally.

sauce boiling on a pot while being whisked

STEP FIVE: Pour the vegetable oil into a large skillet to 2 inches in depth. Heat to 350°F over medium to medium-high heat.

PRO TIP:

It’s important that you test the temperature of the oil with a thermometer. If it’s too hot, it will burn the exterior of the cauliflower, and if it is too cool, the cauliflower won’t cook through and may end up being too oily.

STEP SIX: In a large bowl, combine the flour, cumin, chili powder, coriander, onion powder, and black pepper. Pour the buttermilk into a separate small bowl.

seasonings added to a bowl

STEP SEVEN: Work in batches to cook the cauliflower in the following order: Dip the 1-inch cauliflower florets into the flour mixture, then dip them in the buttermilk, then dip them back into the flour mixture. Tap excess flour off of each piece of cauliflower and gently place it into the hot oil.

cauliflower coated in flour, buttermilk, then more flour

STEP EIGHT: Cook cauliflower on both sides for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove cooked cauliflower from hot oil and place it on a paper towel-lined plate or sheet pan to drain off excess oil.

cauliflower fried in a pot of hot oil

STEP NINE: When all the cauliflower is cooked, place it in a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot sesame sauce over the top of the cauliflower. Use tongs or a large spoon to “toss” the cauliflower with the sesame sauce until all of the pieces are coated.

sauce poured on top of fried cauliflower in a bowl

STEP TEN: Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower garnished with green onions and sesame seeds on a plate

How To Serve

Serve this delicious sticky sesame cauliflower dish on a bed of rice for a complete vegetarian meal. If you are planning a night of Chinese takeout recipes at home, try our orange chicken and fried rice to add to your plate.

Make sure you also check out our vegetarian chili, which is a real winner for a hearty one-pot meal. Our cauliflower fried rice is another tasty dish to try.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftover sticky sesame cauliflower bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

IN THE FREEZER: Store the sticky cauliflower in the freezer in an airtight container for up to one month.

close up shot of a plate of Sticky Sesame Cauliflower garnished with green onions and sesame seeds and served over white rice

Whenever you’re craving a big flavor meal, sticky sesame cauliflower will be your new go-to recipe. The crispy battered cauliflower in the flavor-packed sticky sauce paired with tender rice makes for a great dinner any night of the week.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I pick a cauliflower?

Pick a head that is free from browning, wet spots, or “sunburned spots.” The cauliflower should be firm, heavy for its size with densely packed florets. The leaves should be fresh and vibrant green which is a sign that the cauliflower was recently harvested.

What kind of hot oil is best for deep frying?

Fry only with oils that have a high smoking point. The smoking point is the temperature it takes for the oil to start to break down and smoke. Once it smokes, it’s not good for frying. Good oils to use are sesame oil, peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, or vegetable oil. Olive oil, on the other hand, is not a good oil to fry in.

Can I freeze this cauliflower dish?

The sticky cauliflower can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month.

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close up overhead shot of a plate of Sticky Sesame Cauliflower garnished with green onions and sesame seeds

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

5 from 3 votes
Whenever you’re craving a meal that's big on taste, this sticky sesame cauliflower will be the perfect flavorful choice.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cups buttermilk
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Sauce

  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • tablespoons rice vinegar
  • cup ketchup
  • cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • tablespoons water

Garnish

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 5 green onions, sliced

Instructions
 

  • In a medium pot, cook the white rice according to the package directions.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, ketchup, honey, sesame oil, light brown sugar, garlic paste, ginger paste, and chicken broth. Whisk together and bring to a boil.
  • In a small separate bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Whisk until no lumps remain.
  • Once the sauce is boiling, slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Turn heat to low and let simmer while you prepare the cauliflower. Stir occasionally.
  • In a large skillet over medium, heat vegetable oil until it is about 2 inches deep. Turn heat to medium and let sit until the temperature reaches 350°F. It’s important that you test the temperature with a meat thermometer. If it’s too hot, it will burn the exterior of the cauliflower.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, cumin, chili powder, coriander, onion powder, and black pepper. Whisk together. In a separate bowl, add the buttermilk.
  • Work in batches to cook the cauliflower in the following order: Take the 1-inch cauliflower pieces and dip them in the flour mixture. Then dip them in the buttermilk. Then dip them back in the flour mixture. Tap the excess flour off of the cauliflower pieces and add to the hot oil.
  • Cook the cauliflower on both sides for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the oil and place it on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • When all the cauliflower is cooked, place it in a large mixing bowl. Pour the hot sesame sauce over the top of the cauliflower. Use tongs or a large spoon to “toss” the cauliflower with the sesame sauce.
  • Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Video

Notes

  • You can find sesame oil in two places at the grocery store. It can be found in the baking aisle in the oil section. You can also find it with Asian foods as well. It is usually cheaper if you pick the oil that is in with the Asian foods.
  • The cornstarch slurry will help thicken up the sauce.
  • It’s important that you test the temperature of the oil with a thermometer. If it’s too hot it will burn the exterior of the cauliflower, and if it is too cool, the cauliflower won’t cook through and can end up being too oily.

Nutrition

Sodium: 982mg | Calcium: 212mg | Vitamin C: 76mg | Vitamin A: 601IU | Sugar: 49g | Fiber: 6g | Potassium: 866mg | Cholesterol: 10mg | Calories: 611kcal | Saturated Fat: 3g | Fat: 9g | Protein: 15g | Carbohydrates: 120g | Iron: 5mg
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  1. Becky says

    5 stars
    Those califlowers look awesome! I love the color so much, and you’re right, we need to add some meat-free dishes to our meals. Thanks for sharing!

    • Layne Kangas says

      Hi, Dawn – I’m sure you could but we haven’t tested that personally so I can’t say specifics for making it that way. Please let me know if you try it. Enjoy!

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