As a vegetarian, I know what it’s like to crave fried chicken, with its crispy seasoned crust and moist, juicy insides. I experimented with a few different recipes before stumbling upon this one. While it’s not quite the same as fried chicken, it does a pretty good job of satisfying my desires.
To make this recipe its very best, you need to take your time and use a perfect technique. A perfectly fried piece of chicken make use of a brine type marinade, and cauliflower benefits from the same treatment. After a 2 hour soak in the brine, the cauliflower is roasted to make it tender and remove some the moisture so it can take the breading and not be soggy. Finally a well seasoned breading makes all the difference in complexity and flavor. Now, a lab test recently showed that the Colonel’s breading that is supposedly seasoned with “11 herbs and spices” was actually nothing more than MSG and salt. But after some research, I found an approximation of the original 11 herbs and spices that was used in the original seasoning blend.
After frying, enjoy the cauliflower how it is or try tossing it a sauce. I’d recommend a sweet Asian chili sauce, Buffalo style wing sauce or the included hot Nashville sauce.
- 3 small or 2 large heads cauliflower, cut into large drumstick-like pieces.
- 1 cup soy milk
- ¼ cup Louisiana hot sauce
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
Buttermilk Breading Mixture:
- 2 eggs worth of egg replacer
- Soy milk mixture from above
- ¼ cup new soy milk + 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to create buttermilk
- 3 Tbsp Louisiana hot sauce
- 2 cups white all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 tsp onion powder
Nashville Hot Sauce:
- 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- peanut oil for frying
- Sprinkle the cut cauliflower with salt and pepper.
- Whisk soy milk with hot sauce in a large bowl or large freezer bag.
- Place the cauliflower in the bowl or bag, and chill for a minimum of two hours or overnight.
- Heat oven to 425F and roast cauliflower in oven for 40 minutes, turning after 20.
- Remove cauliflower from oven and set aside.
- Whisk together egg replacer and set aside.
- Whisk soy milk with apple cider vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes to create soy buttermilk.
- In a large bowl whisk together reserved marinade, egg replacer mixture, soy buttermilk mixture, and hot sauce to create the buttermilk breading mixture.
- Whisk all of the ingredients for the seasoned flour together in a separate large bowl.
- Use a deep fryer to cook.
- Heat peanut oil to 325F.
- Dredge the cauliflower in the flour mixture and shake off any excess. Then dip the cauliflower in your buttermilk mixture, and dredge the cauliflower again in flour mixture and place in a separate bowl or baking pan.
- Cook 3 to 4 cauliflower drumsticks in the hot oil at once.
- In a deep fryer this should cook up golden brown and crispy in about 3-6 minutes.
- Keep an eye on the pieces and remove when golden brown and crispy.
- Place finished drumsticks on a tray or bowl lined with paper towel to soak up excess oil.
- Continue to fry your cauliflower in batches of 3 or 4, allowing the oil to return to 325°F between batches.
- While you are frying your cauliflower, whisk together cayenne, brown sugar, garlic salt, paprika and vegetable in a small saucepan to create your Nashville sauce.
- Cook on low-medium heat, whisking often.
- Cook for 15 minutes, making sure it never comes to a boil.
- Strain using a tight sieve and transfer in a jar.
- Seal remainder of hot sauce and keep in fridge until you need it
THIS RECIPE IS VERY SPICY…
!If you do not enjoy heat AT ALL:
-Simply leave out the hot sauce in all steps
If you enjoy a MILD amount of heat:
-Do not toss cauliflower in the Nashville Hot Sauce. Instead use the hot sauce on the side as a dipping sauce