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Fried Cauliflower with Mushroom & Onion Sauce

I am not quite sure this lived up to the vision I had of it, but it was eaten with considerable enthusiasm, so, okay? The cauliflower is a slightly more robust (and possible gluten-free) version of this Mexican Cauliflower, and I wanted a vegetarian sauce for it that wasn’t based on cream or tomatoes; always a challenge. We had just eaten some Adobo Chicken a few days earlier, and those flavours suggested this sauce. Very simple too, which is always a bonus.

Next time I would like the onions much finer; I might even try grating them. Hopefully this would make a smoother sauce, which is more in line with what I was picturing. However, as noted, with some rice on the side this was all eaten very happily. 

4 servings
1 hour prep time

Fried Cauliflower with Mushroom & Onion Sauce

Make the Sauce:
2 medium onions
250 grams (1/2 pound) button mushrooms
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chick pea flour
1 cup cauliflower cooking water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel and dice the onions. Clean and chop the mushrooms. Peel and mince the garlic.

Heat the oil in a shallow, heavy-bottomed pot and add the onions, mushrooms, and bay leaves. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until the onions and mushrooms are softened and reduced in volume, with a few brown spots; about 5 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the chick pea flour over, and stir until it disappears. Add the chick pea cooking water, the soy sauce, the vinegar, and the ketchup. Season with the pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens; about another 10 minutes.

Make the Fried Cauliflower:
1 small head cauliflower
1 cup chick pea flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup cauliflower cooking water or a bit more
2 large eggs
mild vegetable oil to fry

Put a pot of water on to boil for the cauliflower. Trim the cauliflower and break it into florets. Cut large ones in half so that none of them are more than 1″ thick. Cook it in the boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain well, but keep about 2 cups of the cooking water. This could be done up to a day ahead.

Put the chick pea flour, salt, and pepper into a shallow bowl. Mix in the cauliflower cooking water to form a smooth batter, then break in the eggs and whisk well until smooth again.

Put a large skillet on to heat over medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan generously. Dip the cauliflower florets into the batter to coat them well, then lay them in the pan. Do not crowd them. Fry them for just a minute or two per side, turning them so that they cook evenly. They should be fairly well browned and there should be no signs of raw batter. Remove them to a plate as they are done. If there is enough you may need to add more battered cauliflower florets to the pan to be cooked as a second batch. Add a little more oil too, if needed.

Last year at this time I made Spicy Fried Eggplant – Baingan (or Begun) Bhaja.

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