Kung Pao Cauliflower

  • Author: Aysegul Sanford
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian


This Kung Pao Cauliflower Recipe is a healthier alternative to the popular take out food, Kung Pao Chicken.  Ready in about 30 minutes and perfect appetizer or a side dish for all Asian food lovers.

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  • 7 tablespoons of soy sauce, divided
  • 3 tablespoons of rice wine or sherry vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar or granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil (or any other vegetable oil)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, core removed and cut into bite-sized pieces 
  • 4 dried red chiles, cut into small 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 56 stalks of green onions, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup roasted lightly salted peanuts
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Prep the rice wine mixture: In a large mixing bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of rice wine, and cornstarch.
  2. Prep the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of rice wine, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Set it aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower florets and cook, stirring frequently, until cauliflower is softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer it to the bowl with the rice wine mixture and mix until the cauliflower florets are fully coated with the sauce. Set it aside for a moment. No need to wash the wok/skillet.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in the now-empty wok (or skillet), add in the red chiles and fry until lightly golden. This happens pretty quickly so keep a close eye on it. Transfer the chiles to a small bowl and set them aside. You will be left with some oil in the pan.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower florets back to the wok making sure to drain the excess marinade. Saute, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  6. Pour the sauce over top and add the garlic, ginger, and green onions. Give it a toss and cook for one more minute.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately.


  • Be sure to cut the cauliflower in bite size pieces so that it will cook evenly and be easier to eat.
  • You can find all these ingredients in the Asian section of your local grocery store. Keep in mind that rice wine and rice wine vinegar are different things. If you can’t find rice wine, you can substitute it with sherry vinegar.
  • You can use 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or agave in place of granulated sugar.
  • Red dried chiles are a classic in this recipe but if you are serving kids you can omit using them.
  • This recipe is best on the day it is made but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for one more day.