This is my favourite ways to cook cauliflower, and you can apply the same technique to other roasted vegetables as well. This is an addictive appetizer, or it would make a great side dish at your next Thanksgiving meal!
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- 500 g cauliflower florets (about one medium head)
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil plus more for frying garlic
- ½ tsp salt (see note)
- ⅛ tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp five spice powder, store-bought or homemade
- 3-5 dried Thai chilies, break in half and remove seeds
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1-2 green onions, chopped
Note: If your cauliflower is on the small side, reduce the amount of salt slightly.
Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C.
Toss cauliflower thoroughly in 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil until thoroughly coated. Lift cauliflower out of the bowl, leaving behind any excess oil, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the florets out so they are not touching.
Roast the cauliflower for 10 minutes, then stir the florets to promote even browning and roast for another 4-5 minutes until they have browned nicely. Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly on the pan until ready to use.
In a small bowl, stir together salt, sugar, white pepper and five spice powder until well combined.
In a wok, add chopped garlic and then add just enough veg oil to almost cover the garlic. Fry gently on medium low heat until golden. Pour the garlic through a strainer, reserving the garlic oil for another use. Return the wok to medium high heat without cleaning it; we want the garlic oil that’s left on the wok.
Add dried chilies to the wok and toast until darkened slightly and smells smokey. Add roasted cauliflower, sprinkle the dry seasoning evenly over the cauliflower, and pour the soy sauce in around the edges of the wok. Toss quickly until the cauliflower is thoroughly coated. Turn the heat off, add half of the fried garlic and chopped green onion and toss to combine. Plate, and sprinkle with the remaining fried garlic and green onions. Serve immediately on its own as an appetizer or as a side dish.