Fried Cauliflower with Tangy Dipping Sauce
- TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN
- SERVINGS: 8 first-course servings
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.
- 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
- 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