Thai Sweet Chili Cauliflower
Crispy baked cauliflower is drizzled with Thai sweet chili sauce for a flavorful dish that is sweet, savory and a little bit spicy.
I am obsessed with Thai sweet chili sauce. I love using it as a dipping sauce, dressing or the base for my bang bang sauce. Recently, I’ve been using it as a cooking sauce. It has so many flavors built in that you don’t really need to add anything else.
Normally, I make sweet chili chicken. I fry the chicken and then toss them in the sauce. To make this healthier, I decided to coat my cauliflower in panko crumbs and bake them. While crispy baked cauliflower is delicious, the panko crumb coating is quite delicate, so you can’t really toss the cauliflower in the sauce after without the cauliflower losing a lot of its crispy coating.
So after playing around with a few versions, I found the best method was to dilute the sauce slightly so that you can pour more over the cauliflower, allowing for a good amount of sweet chili sauce coating without the cauliflower pieces getting too salty.
- Different Thai sweet chili sauce brands vary in sweetness, sodium and spiciness. Therefore you may need to adjust the sauce to your liking. If you feel it is too sweet, you can add some soy sauce to the sauce when it is simmering. If you feel it is too salty, you can dilute with more water or add some honey. You can also leave out the sriracha sauce if you feel that your sauce already has enough heat.
- The recipe makes a lot of sauce because I wanted to make sure there is enough to coat most of the cauliflower, however you don’t necessarily need to use all the sauce on the cauliflower. I recommend drizzling a small amount of sauce over your cauliflower and taste to test how much sauce you need. For photo purposes, I tried to spread as much sauce across the cauliflower as possible but I also used a pastry brush to spread the sauce after I drizzled it, which is why it looks like there is so much sauce.
- The panko crumbs lose their crispiness soon after they are coated in the sauce, so this dish is best consumed immediately after the sauce is added.
Thai Sweet Chili Cauliflower
- 1 medium or large head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs (I use these)*
- cooking oil spray
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 1 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread panko crumbs in a thin even layer across the surface of the baking sheet. Spray panko crumbs with cooking oil spray. Bake crumbs about 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
- Set whisked eggs aside in a small bowl. Line another large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Dip cauliflower in egg mixture and then shake a few times so that excess egg drips off. You don't want to dampen your breadcrumbs with excess egg because then they won't stick to the cauliflower. Then place into sheet with panko crumbs. Cover cauliflower with panko, pressing the crumbs gently against the cauliflower to help them stick. Place coated cauliflower on empty prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all cauliflower is coated.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is cooked and the coating is a dark golden brown.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, make sauce on the stove. In a small bowl, completely dissolve cornstarch in water and set aside. Add chili sauce, garlic powder and sriracha to a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir a few times until ingredients are mixed. This should only take a few seconds. Then add cornstarch water to the sauce. Stir immediately to dissolve cornstarch into the sauce. Stir occasionally and let sauce come to a simmer (make sure to stir otherwise the cornstarch will clump up) and cook until sauce starts to thicken (about 2 minutes). Taste and adjust sauce as needed. If you feel it is too salty, you can add more water or some sugar. If you feel it is too diluted, you can add a little more chili sauce. If you feel it is too sweet, you can add a little salt or soy sauce. If you want spicier, you can add more sriracha.
- When cauliflower is finished cooking, drizzle some of the sauce over cauliflower. You do not need to use all the sauce on the cauliflower. The recipe makes a lot of sauce in case you want to coat all your cauliflower or you want to save some sauce for whatever you are serving your cauliflower with (rice, quinoa, salad, etc). Garnish with scallions.
- Thai sweet chili sauce is fairly easy to find at most major grocery stores, but they tend to be cheaper and with more choices available at Asian grocery stores.
- See detailed cooking tips right above the recipe box.
- *Some of the product links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you)
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