Food and Drinks


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.

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