The mother of all vegan junk food – vegan kentucky fried cauliflower. This recipe is decadence at it’s best. If you’re looking for that crispy, salty, greasy hit – this recipe is for you.
Over the years I’ve had many incarnations of vegan Kentucky Fried Chicken. All of them tend to use some less than adequate meat replacement, which always feels a bit too dense or a bit too processed for my liking. So I made it my mission to come up with a KFC alternative that uses pure plant power, and here you have it.
Cauliflower is one of my favourite veggies. It’s so god-damn versatile! However, I’m sure you’re bored by now of eating another one of those bland cauliflower rice recipes, or another roasted cauliflower recipe. Why not be a little naughty and try this vegan Kentucky Fried Cauliflower. It’s perfect to enjoy with a netflix night in. I’ve even made my own KFC “buckets” in the past, packed to the brim with delicious crispy cauliflower.
The key to this recipe is to get the battering process down. Be sure only use separate hands to coat the cauliflower in wet and dry batter mixtures. Otherwise the breadcrumbs start to clump and you won’t get that wonderful light and crispy KFC batter. Now get cooking!
When to eat
Cauliflower is available pretty much year round as there are both winter and summer varieties. I prefer the meatier winter varieties that are available from November to May.
This meal is around 81% less polluting than the average UK meal.
- Eating this recipe will save around 2.37 KG CO2e per person.
- That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 19.56 KM in a modern car.
- 1 Large Head Cauliflower
- 400 g Soft White Bread
- 300 ml Vegetable Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Mustard Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 3 Tablespoons Flour
- 2 Whole Eggs Vegan Egg Replacer (I used Orgran No Egg)
- 100 ml Plant Milk
- First chop all the crusts off your white bread. Then place in a food processor and blend until a fine breadcrumb. Place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. (If the breadcrumbs are too fresh you may want to de-hydrate in the oven on a low heat until they dry out a bit.)
- Mix all the batter ingredients, save for the plant milk, in a large mixing bowl into a thick paste. Gradually whisk in the plant milk until you have a thick but smooth batter.
- Chop and break the cauliflower into individual florets. The size and shape of these florets don’t really matter, just have fun. I like to vary the size of florets from small pieces to chunky rounds – this gives more of an organic “chickn” feel. You can do whatever you feel just make sure to use as much of the cauliflower as possible. Even the stalk will taste great when coated in the batter and breadcrumbs!
- On a large work surface arrange from left to right: first your bowl of broken cauliflower florets, next the bowl of batter, then your breadcrumbs, and finally a large plate for your finished battered cauliflower.
- Take a single floret and toss it into the batter bowl. Using one of your hands, cover the entire floret in an even coating of the batter. Then pick up the floret and place it into the breadcrumb bowl. Using your other hand, toss and cover the battered floret in a good helping of breadcrumbs. Once covered, move the finished floret onto the end plate. Repeat until all of your florets are coated.
- In a deep heavy pan heat the vegetable oil over a medium to high heat. After a few minutes break a tiny bit of one of your florets off and place into the oil. When this piece is nicely bubbling and browning, your oil is hot enough. If you want to get very precise, you can measure the temperature of the oil, it should be around 170˚c. I tend, however, just to measure the pan heat by eye, either increasing or decreasing the temperature of the oil if the cauliflower is either browning too quick or too slow.
- Take a few florets and toss into the pan. They should begin to sizzle almost immediately. Whilst the first side cooks, take spoon and flick the hot oil onto the alternate exposed side. Do this for a few flicks until the exposed side takes on a little colour. Fry your florets for about 2 minutes, or until the underside is sufficiently browned, then turn and cook the alternate side for a further 2 minutes. (if your floret doesn’t really have two distinctive sides, just continue turning and frying until all the sides are browned)
- Once your florets are evenly cooked, remove from the pan and place on a clean tray. Immediately season with salt. Then repeat the frying process with the rest of the florets until all are cooked.
- Serve hot with a side of dipping sauces and salsas to dunk the crispy cauliflower in. I like to serve mine with a tahini dip, Korean hot sauce and vegan aioli.