Kung Pao Cauliflower

January 16, 2022mayurisjikoni


Kung Pao Cauliflower is a vegetarian/vegan take on the traditional Chinese Kung Pao. Cauliflower is oven roasted instead of deep frying. With a spicy sauce, enjoy it on its own, with some rice or noodles. I know deep frying makes the cauliflower more crispier but oven roast them so hubby and I can enjoy this delicious, spicy dish without any guilt.

What Is Kung Pao?

Kung Pao, Gong Pao, Kung Po is traditionally a Chinese stir fried dish made from chicken pieces, peanuts, vegetables and chilli peppers. This dish originates from Sichuan Province of China. Sichuan pepper is used to make the sauce spicy. Chicken cubes are coated in flour, deep fried and then added to the sauce. Mostly served with sticky rice, hubby sometimes like to have it with noodles.

As a matter of fact, realized that Kung Pao is similar to the Indo Chinese Manchurian dishes. Manchurian is much more hot, as in chilli wise.

First Taste

Before arriving into Canada, we had to book an airport hotel for quarantine. However, quarantine rules changed and because our tests were negative, we didn’t have to stay at the hotel we had booked. However, they wouldn’t refund our money and we required a place to stay. So offering us their normal rates, we stayed at the hotel for 3 days.

First day was fine, as hubby and I spent most of the day catching up on sleep. The trip from Mombasa to Montreal is really long, and takes 24 hours. We were totally exhausted! Second day, we went out for a walk around the hotel area, looking for a nearby cafe or restaurant to order a hot meal. However, we couldn’t find any. Because of Covid the hotel was not serving any hot meals. We could buy only snacks.

My son ordered some food to be sent to our hotel room. We had left it on him to choose the meals for us.. While he ordered Kung Pao Chicken for hubby, mine was Kung Pao Cauliflower. Came as a huge bowl meal, with so much rice and veggies. And wow, it was so tasty.  That’s when I knew I had to try making the dish at home.

Several Variations

Browsing the internet came across so many different versions. Some mild, some spicy, some requiring ingredients that I could not find. Therefore, put several recipes together to come up with my version. Next time would like to deep fry the batter coated cauliflower.


Sunday Funday is a group of Food Bloggers. Every Sunday we  share some fun, traditional, hearty or easy recipes to make Sunday Family Meals a bit more exciting. To join this fun group, visit the Sunday Funday Facebook Page. Request to join in.


Or in other words the  Chinese Lunar New Year. Also known as the Chinese Spring Festival. It is the most important Chinese Festival. This year the celebrations begin from Jan 31st to Feb 6th. A time for feasting, honouring relatives, friends, heavenly deities and ancestors. With this mind Sue Lau who blogs at Palatable Pastimes suggested that we prepare Chinese or Asian dishes to celebrate.


Chinese Food And Hubby

Chinese Food is hubby’s all time favourite. He probably can live on noodles! As for me I like Chinese, but usually don’t get much of a vegetarian choice. I love the Indo Chinese — yes that is a cuisine, that is served in India. Also I love the Chinese at Galaxy Restaurant in Mombasa, my favourite being snap peas, French Beans and Broccoli in a garlic sauce. Besides the take away we enjoyed on arrival in Montreal, I loved the food at Chez Chili in China Town, Montreal. And they have several veggie options. As for my favourite cuisine, ummmm can’t make up mind!


Chinese/ Indo Chinese Recipes On My Blog

Healthy, steamed, fluffy, soft, delicious veggie bao buns. Perfect as a starter or as a light meal. Use a filling of your choice.
Check out this recipe
Enjoy protein rich tofu as a salad along with other vegetables. Filling and healthy, Tofu Salad served warm or cold makes a perfect light meal.
Check out this recipe
Baby Corn Manchurian is crispy fried baby corn in a sweet, spicy and  sour. Insanely delicious, it is usually served as a starter or as part of a main dish with either rice or noodles.
Check out this recipe

Chinese Smiling Sesame Cookie Balls – not at all like oven baked cookies, but so so tasty.

Coconut Buns or Chinese Cocktail Buns

Pakchoi, Bean Sprout and Noodle Soup

Grilled Cauliflower – Indo Chinese Style

Momo Soup

Members Of Sunday Funday Celebrating Chinese Lunar Year:

Ingredients Required For Kung Pao Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower – make sure the cauliflower is fresh and worm free. Best to soak cauliflower florets in salt water to remove hidden worms. Allow the florets to dry well. The florets should not be too big or too small.
  • Plain Flour – All Purpose Flour. For a  gluten free version, try using chickpea flour or gluten free wheat flour.
  • Pepper Powder – best to use Sichuan Pepper if you have any. Required for the batter and the sauce.
  • Salt – required for the batter and sauce.
  • Sesame Seed Oil – for the batter and to stir fry the vegetables. Or use any oil of your choice.
  • Cayenne Pepper – dry powder or can use Schezwan/ Sriracha Sauce, homemade garlic & chilli sauce or chilli flakes. Required for both the batter and sauce.
  • Dry Red Chillis
  • Water – required for the batter and the sauce. Can use vegetable stock.
  • Maple Syrup – can replace it with honey or brown sugar.
  • Soy Sauce – required for the batter and the sauce. Use light or dark.
  • Rice Vinegar – for the sauce. Can replace it with any vinegar you have.
  • Ginger – peel and cut into thin slivers.
  • Garlic– peel and slice
  • Bell Pepper – use any colour. Remove the seeds and pith and chop into chunks or strips.
  • Onion – use any of your choice. Peel and cut into chunks or thick strips.
  • Roasted Peanuts – can replace them with cashew nuts.
  • Spring Onion – chopped for garnishing.

Watch How To Make Kung Pao Cauliflower:




Kung Pao Cauliflower is a vegetarian/vegan take on the traditional Chinese Kung Pao. Cauliflower is oven roasted instead of deep frying. With a spicy sauce, enjoy it on its own, with some rice or noodles.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Meal, Starter
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4



  • 500 g cauliflower florets approx.3-4 cups
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • ¼ tsp pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • ½-1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½-¾ cup cup water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs


  • 1-1½ cup veg stock or water
  • 2 tbsp cornflour cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pepper powder
  • 1 ts chilli flakes or red chilli paste


  • 2 whole dried red chillis
  • 1 inch ginger peeled & cut into thin strips
  • 4-6 cloves garlic peeled & sliced
  • 1 medium bell pepper cut into chunks
  • 1 medium medium onion peeled & cut into chunks
  • ¼ cup peanuts roasted
  • ½ cup spring onion chopped



  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the batter except the cauliflower and the bread crumbs.
  • Add the cauliflower florets to the batter.
  • Mix well till all the florets are coated with the batter.
  • Add the bread crumbs and mix.
  • Layer the cauliflower florets on the prepared baking tray.
  • Bake for 20 -30 minutes.
  • Remove the roasted cauliflower florets from the oven.


  • Mix all the sauce ingredients together.
  • For a thinner sauce add more water or stock.


  • Heat oil in a wok or wide pan over high heat.
  • Add onion, bell pepper and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add ginger and garlic. Stir fry for a few seconds.
  • Add the sauce.
  • Stir fry till the sauce becomes a bit thick.
  • Add the baked cauliflower. Mix well. If the sauce is too thick add little water.
  • Add roasted peanuts and spring onion. Mix.
  • Serve Kung Pao Cauliflower with rice or noodles. Or enjoy it on its own as a starter.


  • For a gluten free Kung Pao Cauliflower replace the plain flour with chickpea flour.
  • Add any Chinese Hot Sauce instead of cayenne powder and chilli flakes.
  • Use dark or light soy sauce.
  • Bake the cauliflower ahead and keep it on the side. Make the Kung Pao when you're ready to eat, otherwise the cauliflower will become soggy.
  • If serving as a main dish with rice or noodles you may need more sauce.
Keyword Kung Pao Cauliflower


A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email mayuri.ajay.patel62@gmail.com
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  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962


  • Wendy Klik

    January 16, 2022 at 9:21 am

    Our son in law is a non meat eater so this will make a perfect vegetarian entree for him. Thanks.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 17, 2022 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks Wendy and easy to make. One can bake or deep fry the batter coated cauliflower.

  • Kalyani

    January 16, 2022 at 11:37 pm

    5 stars
    I love that the cauli florets are baked here. the ENTIRE dish, incl the sauces, the presentation is top notch ! makes me want to fall in love with Asian cuisine all over again.. ! ❤️

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 17, 2022 at 1:15 pm

      Thank you so much Kalyani. As the cualiflower florets are baked, it has to eaten soon as after a while it does become soggy. But one can always bake the cauliflower and leave it on the side till ready to eat.

  • Stacy

    January 17, 2022 at 12:39 pm

    While we do eat meat, for the last couple of years I’ve been trying very hard to make more vegetarian dishes. Your kung pao cauliflower is a great way to enjoy one of our favorite Chinese dishes without meat. I can’t wait to try it!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 17, 2022 at 1:13 pm

      Thank you so much Stacy, next on the list to try is mushroom kung pao.It is a tasty way to enjoy cauliflower.

  • Sneha Datar

    January 18, 2022 at 9:10 am

    Love that this recipe is baked and then added in sauce. This is a wonderful recipe to make ahead for a party.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      January 19, 2022 at 2:46 pm

      It sure is Sneha. Keep the baked cauliflower ready, keep sauce mixture ready and stir fry just before serving.

  • Renu

    February 1, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    5 stars
    I love that this is baked instead of fried, so one can enjoy it guilt-free. I make it but just with rice flour. I love the way you have assembled the dish along with the noodles. Feels like a restaurant-style dish.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 2, 2022 at 10:06 pm

      Thank you so much Renu, next time I will try with rice flour only. Perhaps it will turn out more crispier.

  • Maria

    February 2, 2022 at 11:40 am

    5 stars
    Chicken Kung Pao is a family favourite but we are trying to go easy on meat after all the indulgent eating of the holiday season. This looks so delicious and I just bought a lovely cauliflower head today.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      February 2, 2022 at 10:04 pm

      Enjoy the dish Maria. Cauliflower Kung Pao is definitely a healthier version.

  • Seema Sriram

    March 11, 2022 at 11:04 pm

    5 stars
    We made this and guess what the leftovers made it to school. You have a recipe that is actually teen pleasing. They all want more next week.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 12, 2022 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks Seema, am so glad everyone in your family loved this recipe.

  • Archana

    March 12, 2022 at 1:38 am

    5 stars
    Wow! I have heard about Kung Pao Chicken so much but never tasted it! Now that I have the cauliflower option can make some and even my Father-in-law will enjoy it. Sounds so very yum.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 12, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks Archana, when I first tasted it, it reminded me of the Indo Chinese manchurian dishes but without the spiciness. So yes am sure the family will love this recipe.

  • Jayashree T.Rao

    March 14, 2022 at 4:00 am

    5 stars
    Kung Pao Cauliflower looks tasty and perfect treat. It looks good and the flavours are ideal for us. Would love to try it sometime. A guilt free snack to have anytime.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 14, 2022 at 4:43 pm

      Jayashree, usually Kung pao is enjoyed with noodles or rice as a main dish.

  • Priya Vj

    March 15, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    5 stars
    The entire platter of kung pao cauliflower is just so gourmet and classy . Can’t take my eyes off it ! The noodles are perfectly done and then the cauliflower is so bright and welcoming

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 15, 2022 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you so much Priya.

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