Hot and Sweet Cauliflower Wings

Story time with Kelly: Way back in the day, before I knew anything about cooking, I tried to fry food at home. I was in university and I can’t recall what I was making, but I can recall almost burning the house down.

I put a pot of oil on the stove and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. It didn’t start to boil, so I just kept waiting. Like I said, I knew NOTHING about cooking. All of a sudden, plumes of smoke started emerging from the pot. And, then I couldn’t breathe. The smoke filled the house and my roommates were like, “WTF Mate?!” It was so thick that it coated our lungs as we hacked up a storm. So, I carefully took the pot outside and stuck it in a pile of snow and ran far, far away.

Never have I tried frying again. Until today. Thank goodness for endless episodes of the Food Network that have guided me in my growth as a food fryer.

So, in case you have never fried before, here are my learnings:

  • Oil doesn’t boil
  • Do not fry food without a thermometer

Now that the PSA is out of the way, let me introduce you to my first fry recipe – Cauliflower wings. We all know them. We all love them. But, I can’t tell you how many times I have tested recipes that have you bake these little guys, and they never create the texture that I want. That crispy AF texture. So, we fryin’ today.

This recipe is really quick and surprisingly easy. You need to break off your cauli into smaller florets – the larger they are, the more water they absorb. Then, get that batter going – add some flour, cornstarch (my favourite “crisping” ingredient), paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper to a bowl and whisk. Next, pour in some canned coconut milk, mixed with another milk of choice – oat, cashew, almond, etc. Whisk it all together and you will get a nice batter. Give those florets a dunk and carefully place them into the pot of oil. Let them cook for about 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.

After you have fried all of the cauliflower, get your sauce ready. Combine a quarter cup of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with 1 tablespoon of honey and slather over the wings. Give them a toss and they are ready.

If you are into dipping things into other things, then make my “Frank’s Aioli.” Mix about 1/2 teaspoon of Frank’s Hot Sauce with 2 tablespoons of mayo and give ‘er a few cracks of pepper and you’re Gucci.

I’m very pleased with my personal growth. Let me help you achieve your culinary fry goals with this recipe! Happy frying!

Hot and Sweet Cauliflower Wings

Servings: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Canola or vegetable oil, to fry
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, broken into florest
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk (or skip and add 1 whole cup of ‘other’ milk)
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice (cashew, coconut, oat, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tsp Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or your favourite hot sauce), separated
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Scallions, sliced, for topping (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Set up your frying station by pouring the oil into a dutch oven, or heavy pot. Have at least 3 inches of oil in your pot. Place a thermometer in the pot and turn the burner on medium-high.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix together the two milks and pour over the dry ingredients. Whisk until combined and then add the cauliflower, stirring to coat with the batter.
  4. When your oil temperature reaches 350 degrees F, use metal tongs to carefully drop in a few of the coated cauliflower florets, making sure you don’t crowd the pot as it will significantly bring the temperature down. Fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove carefully with a stainless steel spider and place on a paper towel lined plate. Immediately season with a pinch of salt. Wait until the oil comes back up to temperature before continuing with the rest of the cauliflower.
  5. To make the sauce, combine 1/4 cup hot sauce with 1 tablespoon honey. Transfer the cauliflower wings to a large bowl and drizzle the sauce over them. Toss to combine.
  6. To make the aioli, combine the mayonnaise with 1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce and a pinch of pepper. Stir to combine.
  7. Top with sliced scallions and serve immediately.

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