Cauliflower Popcorn

Uploaded: 4 April, 2022



Recipe from Jikoni by Ravinder Bhogal, published by Bloomsbury.

Ingredients - Serves: 4 As A Starter

1 cauliflower, cut into small florets

Small handful of Thai basil leaves

6 spring onions, thinly sliced

2 red chillies, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced Groundnut oil, for deep-frying

Lime wedges, to serve


For the dipping sauce

100ml Chinkiang black vinegar

80ml light soy sauce

1 red chilli, finely chopped

Small thumb of ginger, finely grated

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp caster sugar

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted


For the batter

2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns

2 tsp black peppercorns

2 tsp sea salt

200g plain flour

4 tbsp cornflour

About 300ml ice-cold sparkling water


  1. To make the dipping sauce, simply whisk together all the ingredients. For the batter, heat a dry frying pan over medium heat and toast the peppercorns until they are aromatic. Tip into a pestle and mortar, along with the salt, and crush to a coarse powder. Empty out into a mixing bowl, add both flours and mix well. Now whisk in the sparkling water, adding just enough to make a batter with a double-cream consistency, and being careful not to overbeat.


  1. Fill a large, heavy-based saucepan a third full with the deep-frying oil. Heat the oil to 180°C – if you don’t have a thermometer, you will know the oil is ready when a cube of bread turns golden brown in 20 seconds. Dip the pieces of cauliflower into the batter, one at a time, letting the excess drip off, and deep-fry until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Dip the basil leaves in batter and fry in the same way. When you have finished frying the cauliflower and basil leaves, carefully pour out most of the oil from the pan, leaving just a few tablespoons. Place over medium–high heat and flash-fry the spring onions, chillies and garlic for a minute or so, until the garlic is just beginning to colour. Drain on kitchen paper, scatter over the cauliflower and toss. Serve immediately, with lime wedges for squeezing and the dipping sauce alongside.