Sichuan Spicy Cauliflower – Recipe

Sichuan Spicy Cauliflower
Sichuan Spicy Cauliflower

So, this happened: for reasons too tedious to explore, we ate dinner at a California Pizza Kitchen the other night. First time I’ve been to one in years. Not my first choice of places to eat, but it served the purpose. The very next morning, I woke up to this Google Alert in my inbox:

Herbivoracious’s Review for California Pizza Kitchen Lower Parel 
Herbivoracious’s Review for California Pizza Kitchen, Lower Parel, Mumbai; California Pizza Kitchen review by Herbivoracious on Zomato.…/reviews?…id…

Yep. A guy going by the name “Herbivoracious” just reviewed a California Pizza Kitchen. In Mumbai, India. He even had the same pizza as me, the so-called “wild mushroom” (which is made entirely with cultivated mushrooms). How weird is that?

Anyhow. This is some spicy cauliflower. The Sichuan peppercorns give it that nice tongue-numbing sting. The amount in the recipe is relatively low, so feel free to double that ingredient if you see fit.

This dish is good hot, but it is also pretty darn tasty cold, when it becomes almost like a spicy pickle. I cooked it sous vide, but you can just as easily microwave it. It would probably be really good if you microwaved the plain cauliflower until it was just short of tender and then stir-fried it with the spices. The way you see it in the picture, I cooked the head just cut into two halves because I thought that would look cool to slice it at the table, but honestly it would be just as good to cut into florets first – and it will cook much more quickly.

Sichuan Spicy Cauliflower

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Sichuan Spicy Cauliflower

  • 1 head cauliflower, halved or cut into florets (about 700 grams)
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) chili oil (or use a mix of plain and sesame oil and add dried chilis to your taste)
  • 7.5 grams kosher salt (start with 1 teaspoon if working by volume)
  • 3.4 grams Sichuan peppercorn (1 tablespoon), crushed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
    To cook sous vide:
  1. Divide all ingredients among two sous vide bags. Seal under maximum vacuum if available. Cook at 85 C / 185 F until tender, about 40 mins. Allow to cool slightly, then remove from bag, and, if desired broil or blowtorch to brown in spots. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.
  2. To stir fry (untested!)
  3. Microwave florets at high power until partly tender. Drain off any water. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil, salt, Sichuan peppercorn, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry for just a few seconds, then add the cauliflower, and stir-fry until cooked through and browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, March 18th, 2013 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan or Modifiable.

9 Responses to “Sichuan Spicy Cauliflower – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    March 18, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    I’m always in search for good recipes with cauliflower and this one sounds so flavorful! Love that you didn’t cut it into florets, must really be cool on the table!

  2. Reply
    March 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    This sounds simply delicious! I’m going to try it stir-fried. Thanks!

  3. Reply
    March 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    That would feel like a parallel universe event I think.

    I too like that it wasn’t all cut up. Looking forward to making this one day this week.

  4. Reply
    March 18, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    Just stopped by to say congratulations on the James Beard nomination! Best of luck!

    • Reply
      March 19, 2013 at 5:43 am #

      Thank you! I’m thrilled, and whatever happens it is a really nice surprise to be a finalist.

  5. Reply
    March 20, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    just saw the james beard nominees and i see that your AMAZING cookbook has been given a shout out 🙂 congratulations!!!

  6. Reply
    March 26, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    Oh this looks amazing and couldn’t have come at a better time 🙂

    I just bought two huge heads of cauliflower as it looked so delicious at my local supermarket, but once I got home other than cauliflower and cheese I was a bit lost.

    Will definitely be trying this.

    And btw, lovely site. I just went completely vegetarian a couple of weeks ago so am trying new recipes like crazy. You’re definitely bookmarked 🙂

  7. Reply
    March 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    I liked this a lot, but I was using relatively new Sichuan peppercorns, and they had so much flavor that I found they overwhelmed the rest. (And I say that as someone who loves those peppercorns in lots of things). So I would recommend to others that they consider backing off those guys a little when they first make this recipe. I’ll definitely make it again…but with about half the peppercorns.

    • Reply
      March 30, 2013 at 6:59 am #

      Interesting! Mine were new but maybe not as strong as yours, I actually could have used more. May be another one of those spices where there is a lot of variation.

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