This curried cauliflower tempura is perfectly crispy, tender on the inside, and served with the creamiest ginger and cilantro sauce!
You are going to love the balance of crispy cauliflower with the fresh and zesty sauce!
If you have never heard of tempura, it’s a frying technique that appeared around the 16th century. It consists of coating your vegetables into a cold batter made of ice water, flour, baking soda, and sometimes spices. The batter is just slightly mixed to prevent the gluten from developing too much. The contrast of a cold batter with hot oil creates a very light and airy texture.
Here, we start by boiling the cauliflower for about 4 minutes or until 95% cooked. Since frying tempura is very quick (1-2 minutes), it would not cook the cauliflower. That’s why we need to do that prior to frying.
In the meantime, let’s prepare the sauce!
It consists of soaked cashews blended with fresh ginger, lime juice, garlic, and cilantro. The result is a creamy sauce with a fresh and zesty flavor!
For the batter, start by whisking all-purpose flour (or cake flour) with cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and curry powder. The addition of curry powder adds another subtle level of flavor and a bright orange color!
Then, for a light and crispy texture, pour in cold soda water and just slightly whisk to combine. Make sure you don’t overmix. It’s totally fine if there are a few lumps.
Quickly dip your cauliflower florets into the batter and fry until golden brown!
As with any tempura, this must be served immediately as it will lose its crispiness just a few minutes after frying. So make sure to prepare the sauce before, and fry it just before serving when everything is ready.
To serve, pour some of the ginger sauce into a plate and top with the cauliflower tempura, or simply serve with the sauce on the side! We can serve this dish either as an appetizer or as a whole meal with some rice on the side.
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
- 10 ounces cauliflower florets (try to make florets of about the same size)
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup chilled soda water
- 2 cups oil for frying
- 3/4 cup raw cashews soaked overnight*
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 inch fresh ginger adjust to taste
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Start by preparing the ginger sauce: drain the cashews and transfer them to a high-speed blender. Add the water, fresh ginger, lime juice, garlic, salt, and cilantro. Blend on high for 20-30 seconds or until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the saltiness to your liking. Feel free to add more cilantro or ginger to taste and blend again.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the cauliflower florets and boil for about 4 minutes or until the cauliflower is almost cooked. Do not overcook.
- Drain and rinse under cold water to stop it from cooking more and in order to cool it.
- Heat about 2 cups of oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. In the meantime, prepare the tempura batter.
- Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, curry powder, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Pour in the chilled soda water and whisk to combine, do not overmix. It's okay if there are some lumps.
- Test the oil by dipping a wooden spoon or chopsticks into it. If bubbles appear around it, the oil is hot enough.
- Working with one cauliflower floret at a time, dip it into the tempura batter (using a pair of chopsticks or a fork) and slightly shake it to remove the excess batter. Immediately transfer to the oil and repeat with 3-4 more florets. Fry for about 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove the cauliflower tempura from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate lined with a kitchen paper towel to remove the excess oil.
- Repeat with the remaining cauliflower florets, frying no more than 4-5 at a time.
- Serve immediately with the ginger sauce on the side! Or you can pour some of the ginger sauce into a deep plate and top with the cauliflower tempura. Cauliflower tempura just stays crispy for a few minutes, so it's best served immediately.