Crispy, crunchy & delicious cauliflower popcorn is the must-have recipe in this full-blown cauliflower season! Not only healthier, this cauliflower popcorn is super-easy to make too!
Cauliflower season is at its peak and I can’t thank enough for it! To express my gratitude, I bring to you today the best ever vegetarian finger food which is my rockstar cauliflower popcorn! Where should I start with it? I am in so much awe with this cauliflower popcorn that I am still unsure if I had really made it myself! Just look at these cute little pearl-like (somewhat giant pearls though!) cauliflower popcorns and tell me if they aren’t looking surreal? I could not believe that popcorn made out of a vegetable can turn out to be so crispy that it could even beat the regular popcorn! And the best part is that the super-crispy outer coating does not make the inside dry; the cauli-florets inside the cauliflower popcorn is very moist and succulent with full of flavors from the aromatics used to marinade the florets. This is a fail-proof recipe of cauliflower popcorn and I can’t stress enough that you must try making this at home!
Now let me tell you why I am so thankful for the cauliflower season being at its peak. Cauliflower is a very common veggie in Indian cooking and we have many quintessential recipes using cauliflower like our flagship recipe of aloo gobi. Also, India produces a large volume of cauliflower every year which is why this vegetable is very easily available in any part of India. Winter farmers’ market is overflowing with fresh cauliflowers of all sizes and I am sure people are always on the lookout for new cauliflower recipes to try once they have had their fair share of aloo gobi! Additionally, cauliflower has gained immense popularity in the western cuisine during recent times and people are simply going crazy with new experiments of cauliflower! So, easy and tasty cauliflower recipes are always in high demand nowadays and being a food blogger what else can you be thankful for?
Cauliflower popcorn is the best option for snack to serve your bunch of friends at next game day gathering as it will delight vegetarian and non-vegetarians alike. As the name suggests, this cauliflower popcorn is replication of regular popped up corn kernels where small cauliflower florets are coated with a batter and deep fried to get the similar crispiness as regular popcorns. Now it is important to make sure that the floret inside is completely cooked by the time the outer coating is browned all over. So, you need to boil the florets in salted water until they are 90 percent cooked i.e. they become tender but not completely soft. Once the florets are blanched, you first coat them with dry flour which is a mix of all-purpose flour and corn flour. This dry coating will ensure that the wet batter clings to the cauliflower florets easily and firmly ensuring super-crispy cauliflower popcorn!
I wasn’t too fond of cauliflower as a veggie since my childhood mostly because I felt that I had too much of it. Also, I hadn’t tried other delish cauliflower recipes back then e.g. my most popular buffalo cauliflower bites or my tandoori gobi or tandoori cauliflower. Thankfully my better half is way too fond of cauliflower since long and keeps insisting me to try new cauliflower recipes. I had this cauliflower popcorn recipe stored at one corner of my brain after watching it here, but it wasn’t materializing for some unknown reason. Finally, it did all thanks to the cauliflower season with overflowing cauliflowers in the farmers’ market! And I can’t thank enough for trying out this recipe of cauliflower popcorn as it became one of my favorite cauliflower recipes of all time as well as my go-to snacks to binge on while watching my favorite movie on Netflix! Make this gorgeous cauliflower popcorn at home and enjoy the seasonal freshness at its best!
- Cauliflower – 1 head of about 700 gms or about 2 cups of cauliflower florets
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Panko breadcrumbs – 2 cups
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Fresh parsley – 2 tbsp, finely chopped (I used curly parsley, but you can use any other herb as well e.g. coriander or oregano)
- Garlic powder – ½ tsp
- Onion powder – ½ tsp
- Freshly crushed black pepper – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Corn flour – 4 tbsp
- All-purpose flour – 4 tbsp
- Corn flour – 5 tbsp
- All-purpose flour – 5 tbsp
- Light soy sauce – 2 tsp
- Yogurt – 3 tbsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Garlic powder - ½ tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Onion powder – ½ tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 tsp
- Chat masala – 1 tsp
- Powder sugar – 1 tsp
- Black pepper – ½ tsp
- Cut the cauliflower head into small florets depending on how big or small you want your cauliflower popcorn to be. Put them into a large saucepan and add about 2 times more water so that all florets remain inside the water.
- Add about half a teaspoon of salt to the water and bring it to boil. Let the florets boil in the water for 2 minutes. Then drain the water out and place the florets in a colander for 5 minutes to let the excess water drip off.
- Now place the blanched florets in a large bowl and add all the ingredients listed under dry coating. Mix the florets with all the added spices plus flours to coat each one thoroughly. Do not press the florets too hard as they have already become tender.
- Once all the florets are nicely coated with dry spices, take them out in another bowl leaving behind the excess dry flour-spice mixture. We will not waste this excess flour but will make the wet batter in this same bowl after taking the florets out.
- Now add all the ingredients listed under wet batter to the same bowl with dry flour and add little water at a time to make a smooth batter. Add about ¼ cup of water at a time and whisk the flours thoroughly to make a lump-free batter.
- The batter should be of coating consistency – if it’s too thin it won’t stick to the florets, but if it’s too thick it will almost kill the cauliflower florets inside. Is should be of running consistency.
- Place the panko breadcrumbs in a plate for coating the cauliflowers.
- Take one floret at a time and drop them into the wet batter. Coat the floret with the wet batter thoroughly on all sides, then lift it up & let excess batter drip off, then drop it on the panko breadcrumbs and coat with it all over.
- Coat all florets similarly and place them on a plate. If you have time, then chill the coated cauliflower popcorns in refrigerator for an hour; this will help the batter to adhere to florets nicely.
- Now heat a deep-frying pan with vegetable oil until medium hot. Then drop the coated cauliflower popcorn one by one into the hot oil and fry them on medium-low heat until they turn golden brown all over. Do not overcrowd the pan, fry them in batches if you need to; otherwise the popcorns won’t be crispy enough.
- Once nicely browned, take then out and put on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel to soak up excess oil.
- Also, while the cauliflower popcorns are being fried, make the sprinkling masala by mixing all the items listed under spice mix and whisk them using a fork.
- Once all the cauliflower popcorns are fried, take them in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the spice mix over them. Toss them lightly to coat with the dry spice mix.
- Serve the hot cauliflower popcorn with Buffalo sauce or any other dip of your choice. Enjoy!