In Vietnam, cauliflower is traditionally eaten dipped in fish sauce. Bryant Ng, too, creates a fish sauce for dipping, but he fries the cauliflower in a spicy beer batter until the florets are tender and the crust is crispy.
Slideshow:Fantastic Fried Food
Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 to 2 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces pale lager
1 large egg white
Canola oil, for frying
1 head of cauliflower—halved, cored and cut into 1-inch florets
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons very thinly sliced jalapeño
How to Make It
In a small bowl, whisk the fish sauce with the lime juice, sugar, garlic, Thai chile and 3 tablespoons of water until the sugar dissolves.
In a large bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the flour, cayenne, baking powder and 2 teaspoons of salt. Whisk in the beer. In a medium bowl, beat the egg white until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the beaten egg white into the batter.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of canola oil over moderately high heat until it registers 350° on a deep-fry thermometer. Set a rack on a baking sheet. Working in 3 batches, dip the cauliflower florets in the batter and fry until golden, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the cauliflower to the rack to drain.
In a large serving bowl, toss the fried cauliflower with the mint, jalapeño and a pinch of salt. Serve right away, with the dipping sauce on the side.
Crisp sparkling cava: NV German Gilabert
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