Crispy fried tempura cauliflower with spiced yogurt dipping sauce is great for snacking!
Spring is so close! And yet it still feels so far. I’m craving warmer temps, new green grass and flower buds, and spring produce like rhubarb and green peas.
Patience has never been one of my strengths. But I’m trying to make the most of winter fruits and veggies, which if I’m being honest, isn’t all that difficult. I’m still loving ’em!
Last month on one of our visits to Salt Lake City we finally had a chance to visit our friends’ new Lebanese restaurant. While all of the food was fabulous, it was the deep fried cauliflower that blew me away, and I’ve had cauliflower on the brain ever since.
Finally I couldn’t stand the cravings any longer and I made my own version. I whisked together a simple tempura batter with cake flour, egg yolks, ice water, cumin, and salt and pepper. Chopped cauliflower florets took a quick dip in the batter and then they went straight into the fryer to get brown and crispy (and delicious). And that’s it!
You can serve the fried cauliflower however you like, but I went with a creamy sauce made with yogurt, spices, lemon, and fresh herbs. Kinda like what we had when we went out, or at least a little like how I remember it.
I used to be in the cauliflower-is-boring mindset but recently I’ve been proven wrong over and over again. And here’s just one more way to enjoy it! This is 100% addicting and crave-inducing, and you’re going to just love it (I do!).
Fry up a batch and watch how quickly they disappear.
Tempura Cauliflower with Spiced Yogurt Dipping Sauce
- Vegetable oil, for trying
- 2 cups (240 grams) cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 cups (500 ml) ice cold water
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) plain Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) mayonnaise (or replace with more yogurt)
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- Pour oil into a heavy-bottomed pot so that it's at least 2 inches deep. Insert deep fry thermometer. Set over medium high heat and heat to 350 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, prepare tempura batter. Aim to have the batter ready right as the oil comes to temperature so that it sits as little as possible.
- Combine the cake flour, salt, and cumin. Whisk together the egg yolks and ice cold water. Add the flour mixture and mix just until no streaks of flour remain, batter will still be lumpy. Do not overmix.
- Dip the cauliflower a few florets at a time into the batter and then immediately drop them into the hot oil. Let cook about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Watch them to make sure they don't burn. Use a slotted spoon or mesh strainer to transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
- Serve immediately with dipping sauce or as desired.
- Whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more olive oil if needed to reach desired consistency. Dipping sauce can be made several days in advance and store in the fridge.
- Note: I highly recommend using a thermometer so you know when the oil is ready. If you don't have one, you can test the temperature by dropping a little batter into the hot oil. It's ready when the batter browns pretty quickly. You should see color within about 20 seconds. If it burns within that time, the oil is too hot; turn the temperature down.
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Some of my blogging friends and I are taking on the challenge to eat seasonally. Check out Vintage Mixer’s guide to what’s in season this month and join us, won’t you?
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