KUNG PAO CAULIFLOWER BOWL
Updated: Nov 28, 2022
I recently read an except from Mark Mansons book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Not only is the title attention grabbing with the use of an F-Bomb, the book cover is too. You've likely seen it posted all over instagram. His blog is full of easily digestable nuggets about career, relationships and a general approach to the good life. If you're looking for new perspective on such a topic I suggest spending your lunch break on their today instead of Facebook.
After no more then a few minutes of deliberating I got myself a copy. From the excerpt I gather the book expands upon the idea of saving your worries for things that truly matter and to not give a F about what others think of you.
In the spirit of things post digestion of an article which has the F-word written over 100 times I decided that if a curse word pops up from time to time on my blog I'm ok with it.
Are you shaking your head at me RN? Or saying ya girl ya, go on with your bad self?
There are afterall several examples of respectable people/brands who are sort of known for their use of extreme language. Examples include Tony Robbins, Chelsea Handler or Gary Vee and I've seen the use of swear words on The Skinny Confidential and Thug Kitchen - both of which are well known and respected brands in the blogsphere.
However there are brands that I respect immensely like Cupcakes and Cashmere or Minimalist Baker that don't have any kind of obscene language used on their platform at all. Like not even once.
That is their brand voice and I believe its best that I stay true to mine, too.
Often I'll find myself writing what could be described as a stream of consciousness (tips I learned from this book) and a curse word will appear on the page. Poof. During the editing stage I will ponder over it... Id go so far as to say overthink the use of the word. Should I change that damn to dang? Will it offend someone? Does anyone notice? This is a healthy food blog, is that ISH necessary? ect.
(insert shugging girl emoji)
There are however some things in life that I never have to think twice about, let alone overthink.
The use of cauliflower in place of meat in a dish is one of them.
So with that lets get on to what you're really here for ---> the food.
Kung Pao is a classic dish in Sichuan cuisine originating from the south-western part of China. It is a spicy stir-fry style meal and Kung Pao chicken is a staple of westernized Chinese cuisine but seeing as I don't eat chicken and tofu seemed a little to obvious here I went with cauliflower.
Let me just tell you it is (insert use of F-Bomb) delicious.
I wanted this particular recipe to be really approachable and easy to make so I used pantry staples like cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper and black pepper in place of harder to find and less likely to have on hand Sichuan peppercorns or Sichuan Chili Peppers.
Rest assured that this dish will zing and pop in your mouth.
It is full of flavor. And texture. And crunch.
Luscious, tender, yet crunchy cauliflower smothered with a sweet yet spicy kung pao sauce and generously sprinkled with sesame seeds, layered with sweet red bell peppers, crunchy carrots, pungent green onions and salty cashews.
Served alongside fluffy, nutty rice, nutrient dense green spinach and loaded with good phatz avocado.
This dish has it all and comes together in just over 35 minutes.
P.S. Happy first day of May. New month = New beginning :)
KUNG PAO SAUCE
1/2 Cup rice vinegar
1/4 Cup tamari
1/4 Cup water
1/3 Cup coconut sugar or reg. sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 Teaspoon pink salt
3 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (white or black)
2 Teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 Teaspoon black pepper
1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste
8 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 large heads of cauliflower
2-4 Tablespoons tamari1
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced on angle
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 Cups chopped cashews
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 Cup green onions, sliced on an angle plus more to garnish
4-6 Cups rice, cooked
Make the Sauce:
combine rice vinegar, tamari, water, sugar, corn start and salt in a bowl. Whisk and set aside.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add sesame oil, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds and cook until a gentle sizzle starts. Turn to medium low. Cook and stir until the chili powder turns dark bowrn but does not burn. If the oils bubbles and gets to hot remove it from the heat.
Then add in the black pepper, garlic and ginger. Stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant. It was smell dang good at this point.
Stir the vinegar sauce with a whisk vigorously then slowly add in to the sauce pan. Stir and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. It will thicken up more as it cools.
MAKE THE VEGGIES: Chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl with the tamari and garlic powder. Mix and let marinate while you prep the other veggies.
Peel the carrots and chop into 1/4 inch pieces on an angle. Remove the seeds from the red bell pepper and cute into thin strips and then cut the stripes in half. Peel and minced the garlic. Chopped green onions and cashews.
After the cauliflower has marinated for about 10 minutes heat 1 tbsp oil (coconut or sesame) in the same frying pan used to make the sauce. Once the oil is hot add in the garlic, cauliflower and all the marinade. stir around for 30 seconds. Cook the cauliflower in batches if there is too much to fit in the sauce pan.
Add in the kung poa sauce, carrots and bell pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and top with a lid. Let cook for 8-10 minutes or until fork tender. Repeat if you have more veggies. Right before removing from the heat add the cashews and green onions then stir around.
Make the Bowls:
divide up cooked rice, spinach, and kung pao veggies amongst bowls. Garnish with avocado, green onions and fresh lime. Pour extra sauce on rice and spinach if desired.