Chicago just had a windchill of -18. It is freezing. No, wait. This is a huge understatement.

In this weather, I walked a mile to get to a fitness class, which was probably not the best move. Hey, I am learning how to be a Chicagoan.

It’s not that I know the best thing to do in this weather, but I know what I’d like to do, which is swap out the chicken in your favorite takeout dish for cauliflower.

This is my favorite version. It’s crunchy and crispy and smothered with the best orange sauce you’ve ever tasted. The chicken is not missing here. All.


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 3 cups of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups cornstarch
  • Baking powder, one teaspoon
  • One teaspoon of kosher salt
  • One large egg, beaten
  • Half a cup of lager or Pilsner beer
  • One head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Green onions thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds toasted two teaspoons

For the SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
  • Reduced sodium soy sauce, two tablespoons
  • Three cloves garlic, minced
  • Orange zest two teaspoons
  • Use two teaspoons of Sriracha or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • One tablespoon cornstarch


  • Cook rice in a large pan with 2 cups of water according to the package directions. Set aside.
  • Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or stockpot until the temperature reaches 375°F.
  • In a large bowl, combine cornstarch with baking powder, beer, and salt.
  • Work in batches and dip the cauliflower into the cornstarch mixture. Allow excess to drip.
  • Add 5 or 6 cauliflowers to the Dutch Oven at a time and cook until golden and crispy. This should take 3-4 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Combine chicken stock with orange juice, sugar, and vinegar in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic, orange zest and Sriracha. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat, and simmer while stirring constantly for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in cauliflower.
  • Serve immediately with rice and garnish, if desired, with green onions or sesame seeds.

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