Hello guys! Welcome back to Top Food Facts!
Today’s recipe is one my most favorite meals – General Tso’s Cauliflower. The first time I had it was almost 10 years ago. I fell in love instantly. The sauce is so good! If you have never heard of this meal – it is breaded cauliflower with sticky sweet and spicy sauce served with rice and broccoli and that’s how it looks like.
It tastes as good as it looks! The rice and the broccoli definitely help fighting the spicy sauce and the balance is perfect!
Jennifer 8. Lee, Wrote a book about Chinese food in America.
She has a lot to say about where the dish comes from.
First of all, it is not a dish that is widely known in China. That it is there at all, it is because it was introduced from abroad. General Tso is also known as Zuo Zongtang (左宗棠), a Qing dynasty military hero that played an important role in the Taiping Rebellion which was a civil war started by a Chinese guy who thought he was the son of God and the baby brother of Jesus Christ (really). Zuo is roughly equivalent to General Sherman in U.S. culture.
* The name of the dish, as best she could tell, was created by Chef C.K. Peng (or Peng Chang-kuei) in Taiwan during the 1950s or so.
Peng is from Hunan Province, the same as General Tso/Zuo, though fled when the Communists took over China. Anyway, in Taiwan he was cooking a fancy banquet, and you have to come up with fancy names for fancy dishes at fancy banquets. He had a fancy dish, and wanted to name it after his home town hero. Fast forward to NYC in the 1960s/1970s, when he came and introduced this dish in NYC. Henry Kissinger was a fan.
Of course the original recipe is with chicken, but we did it vegan with cauliflower.
Let’s have a look at the recipe.
- 1 small head cauliflower
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup water
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp finely chopped garlic
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- For the sauce:
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp chili paste
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- a few dried chili peppers
- To sprinkle the dish on top:
- fresh spring onion
- black sesame seeds
- For the garnish:
- 200 gr cooked white rice
- 200 gr cooked broccoli
- Break the cauliflower head into wing-size parts
- Mix the dry ingredients together, except the breadcrumbs, and add the water
- Mix nicely until the mixture becomes smooth
- Start by dipping the cauliflower into the flour mixture and then roll them into the breadcrumbs so they get nicely covered all over
- Bake in the oven, set to 200 celsius, for about 20 minutes
- Make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients and cook it for 1 minute in a hot saucepan until it gets thick
- Take the cauliflower bites out and toss them into a bowl with the sauce so they get covered all over
- Return into the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, so the sauce becomes nice and sticky
- Serve with cooked white rice and sauteed broccoli, seasoned with salt and pepper
- Sprinkle the dish with black sesame seeds and spring onion