Korean Fried Cauliflower (Vegan) Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Ultra-crisp fried cauliflower Korean-style, served with a sweet and hot chili sauce or a sweet soy glaze.

Serve this cauliflower with either of these sauces:

Recipe Facts

Cook: 25 mins
Active: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 2 quarts vegetable or peanut oil

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • 1/2 cup vodka

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets

  • 1 recipe Sweet Soy Sauce or Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce

  • 4 to 5 finely sliced scallions


  1. Preheat oil to 350°F in a large wok, Dutch oven, or deep fryer.

  2. Combine cornstarch, flour, baking powder, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, sesame seeds, and coconut in a large bowl and whisk until homogenous. Add water and vodka and whisk until a smooth batter is formed, adding up to 2 tablespoons additional water if batter is too thick. It should have the consistency of thin paint and fall off of the whisk in thin ribbons that instantly disappear as they hit the surface of the batter in the bowl.

  3. Add cauliflower to batter. Working one at a time, lift one piece and allow excess batter to drip off. Carefully lower into hot oil. Repeat with remaining cauliflower until wok or fryer is full. Do not crowd pan. (You'll be able to fit about half of the cauliflower in each batch). Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate and agitate pieces as they cook until evenly golden brown and crisp all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season immediately with salt. Keep warm while you fry the remaining cauliflower.

  4. Toss fried cauliflower with sauce and serve immediately, sprinkled with extra sesame seeds and scallions.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
238 Calories
15g Fat
24g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 238
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 273mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 44mg 220%
Calcium 74mg 6%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 192mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)