Chicago just had a windchill of -18. It is freezing. No, wait. This is a vast understatement.
I walked a mile to get to a fitness class in this weather, which was probably not the best move. Hey, I am learning how to be a Chicagoan.
It’s not that I know the best thing to do in this weather, but I know what I’d like to do: swap out the chicken in your favorite takeout dish for cauliflower.
This is my favorite version. It’s crispy, crunchy, and smothered with the best orange sauce you’ve ever tasted. The chicken is not missing here. All.
1 cup basmati rice
3 cups of vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
Baking powder, one teaspoon
One teaspoon of kosher salt
One large egg, beaten
Half a cup of lager or Pilsner beer
One head cauliflower, cut into florets
Green onions thinly sliced
Sesame seeds toasted two teaspoons
For the SAUCE
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice
3 Tablespoons of sugar
3 Tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
Reduced sodium soy sauce, two tablespoons
Three cloves garlic, minced
Orange zest two teaspoons
Use two teaspoons of Sriracha or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
One tablespoon cornstarch
According to the package directions, cook rice in a large pan with 2 cups of water. Set aside.
Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or stockpot until the temperature reaches 375°F.
Combine cornstarch with baking powder, beer, and salt in a large bowl.
Work in batches and dip the cauliflower into the cornstarch mixture. Allow excess to drip.
Add 5 or 6 cauliflowers to the Dutch Oven and cook until golden and crispy. This should take 3-4 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a plate lined with paper towels.
Combine chicken stock with orange juice, sugar, and vinegar in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic, orange zest, Sriracha sauce, ginger, and cornstarch. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat, and simmer while stirring for 2-3 minutes. Stir in cauliflower.
Serve immediately with rice and garnish with green onions or sesame seeds if desired.