Cauliflower popcorn. Coated with velvety batter, rolled in panko breadcrumbs, and deep fried to perfection, this veggie version of popcorn gets another flavorful edge from aromatic spices and herbs. Paired with your favorite dip, it makes for the perfect appetizer for your next gathering.
What’s the most exciting way to eat cauliflower? With a little extra crunch? Or a palate-pleasing addition of spices? Obviously, the perfect harmony of flavors and textures create the best crispy golden cauliflower.
This cauliflower popcorn is the vegetarian counterpart of your favorite popcorn chicken. The three elements that make this addictive snack super delicious are perfectly cooked cauliflower florets, spices, and the crunchy coating comprising of velvety batter and panko breadcrumbs.
The beautifully white veggie bouquet – cauliflower
Start with picking the perfect cauliflower. I used a medium head of cauliflower in this recipe. However, depending on the amount of popcorns you’ll need to make, choose from small, medium or large cauliflowers. Once you rinse it thoroughly under cold running water, cut into small or medium-sized florets.
Now, you’ll need to cook these florets separately before making the super crispy cauliflower popcorn. In order to cook the florets, add them to boiling water seasoned with salt. When tender and cooked through, drain. Alternatively, you can also steam the florets in a large steamer if you like.
Spices and herbs for more flavor
Of course, simple cauliflower florets coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried taste amazingly delicious. But how about infusing some extra flavor in the form of spices and herbs? Delicious! I like to add a little ground cumin, paprika and garlic powder along with a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves. If you love a little spice kick, substitute paprika with red chili powder. And toss. Make sure all the florets are coated in the flavorful spices. I really love the addition of coriander leaves in this recipe, but you can substitute it with your favorite herbs like parsley, mint, or rosemary. Again, if you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand, dried ones will impart the much needed flavor.
The first crunchy coating – velvety batter
To create the perfect cauliflower popcorn, you’ll need to add two layers of crispy coating. And the first one is this smooth batter. A simple combo of regular all purpose (plain) flour, corn flour, yogurt and water. Don’t forget the seasonings. The idea is to create smooth batter with pouring consistency. The consistency of the batter is key here, it needs to coat the cauliflower florets creating a sticky surface for the breadcrumbs.
Panko breadcrumbs to make the crispiest cauliflower popcorn
The secret to making super crunchy, finger-licking popcorns is, obviously, the Japanese version of breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs. And this forms the second layer of crunchy element to the cauliflower florets. Florets dipped in batter are rolled in breadcrumbs before adding them into hot oil to turn crispy and golden.
Crunchy layer outside and spiced tender cauliflower inside – one of the most magically delicious way to eat cauliflower. The contrasting textures really add that wow factor.
More cauliflower recipes:
- Tandoori Cauliflower | Tandoori Gobi
- Chilli Gobi | Chilli Cauliflower
- Restaurant Style Gobi (Cauliflower) 65
- Aloo Gobi | Indian Potatoes and Cauliflower
- Cauliflower and Potato Curry