Serves 4 as an appetizer or part of a multi-course meal
10 to 12 cloves garlic
1 piece ginger, peeled and sliced into coins, + 1 teaspoon julienned ginger
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
2⁄3 cup cornstarch
2⁄3 cup flour
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tsp. plus 3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 small onions, chopped
8 to 10 fresh bird's eye chilis, thinly sliced
3/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Cilantro leaves for garnish
1. In a blender, purée garlic, ginger slices, and 1⁄3 cup water. Set aside.
2. In a a pot of salted water, cook cauliflower until tender, about 5 to minutes. Drain, pat dry with a clean towel, and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch, flour, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir in half the garlic paste, 2 tsp. soy sauce, and 3⁄4 cup water to form a batter.
3. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Working in batches, dip cauliflower in batter, then fry until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer fritters with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
4. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of oil. Sauté onions until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add chilis and remaining garlic paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add ketchup, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1⁄3 cup water; simmer until sauce is thickened, about 1–2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Return drained cauliflour to the wok and toss to coat. Transfer to serving plate(s), garnish with julienned ginger and cilantro, and serve as an appetizer or with rice as a main entree.
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