Fried Cauliflower with Tangy Dipping Sauce

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 FoodRecipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks 

Fried Cauliflower with Tangy Dipping Sauce
Photo: © Christina Holmes
Total Time:
45 mins
8 1-course servings


  • 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

  • Salt

  • 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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Suggested Pairing

Crisp sparkling cava: NV German Gilabert

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