Vegan Chili 'Crab'
This Vegan Chili 'Crab' is scrumptious with an appetizing sauce that goes so well with a few steamed or fried buns or a bowl of rice. The recipe is easy, flavorsome, and packed with a healthy vegetable that is sure to whet your appetite.
Servings: 4 people
- 1 small cauliflower ~ 580g
- 2 tablespoons ginger chopped
- 2 tablespoons shallots chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic chopped
- 2 Thai chili or red chili chopped
- 1 oz [30g] extra soft tofu
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch slurry
- oil for cooking
Batter for Cauliflower
- 115 g [¾ cup] all-purpose flour see notes if using a measurement cup
- 155 ml [½ + 2 tablespoons] water or more adjusted depending on the brand
- ¾ teaspoon salt adjust according to taste
- a pinch of black pepper
Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1 tablespoon sambal
- 4 tablespoons ketchup
- 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- ½ teaspoon salt adjust accordingly
- 236 ml [1 ½ cups] vegetable broth adjust depending on how saucy you need
Prepare the cauliflower
Prepare the cauliflower by removing the tough stem and leaves. Using a paring knife, cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets.
Rinse florets thoroughly with water and drain them on dry or paper towels.
Prepare the batter
To make the batter, mix flour, salt, and black pepper in a bowl until well-combined. Then, add the water while whisking vigorously until you get a thick batter.
Preheat the air-fryer to 390°F or 200°C for 3 minutes or based on the appliance's instruction.
Dredge florets in the batter, shake off excess, and place them into the inner air fryer rack. Lay battered florets in one layer and air-fry for 12 minutes or until golden brown and set aside.
How to make the sauce
To make the sauce, heat a non-stick pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Sauté ginger and shallots for a minute or two or until shallots turn translucent.
Then, add garlic, Thai chili, and continue to sauté for another 30-40 secs. Add the rest of the sauces in and give it another quick stir.
Slowly pour in the vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then let it simmer until slightly thickened.
Using a fork, mash silken tofu into pieces and add it into the sauce, then stir to combine.
To thicken the sauce, add about a tablespoon of cornstarch slurry and stir to combine.
While the sauce is cooking, slowly add in the cauliflower florets and toss them with the sauce until all florets are well-coated. Cook down the sauce slightly and turn off the heat.
Ladle into a serving bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve warm with rice or fried buns.
- To measure flour in the cup, I used the spoon & sweep method. Spoon flour into a standard measuring cup, then level the top with a knife without packing the flour, which I had about ~63g in 1/2 cup.
- For a gluten-free batter mix, use a gluten-free flour blend and adjust the water to get a thick batter.
- For other ways to prepare the cauliflower, please check the '3 ways to prepare cauliflower' section for more details.
- To make the fried buns or mantou, first, make the buns using Steamed Bun – Mantou ‘馒头' then:
- Brush buns with oil
- Place them on a preheated air fryer, and air fry for 3 mins until golden brown. Then, set aside until ready to use.
- I used Thai sweet chili sauce and Easy Vegan Sambal in this recipe. For a less spicy version, you can use mild sambal or omit it completely.