I’ve never shared a recipe for cauliflower “wings” on this blog before, but I’m finally putting a stop to that. These Thai peanut cauliflower wings are savory, crispy, and hard to stop eating.
When it comes to cauliflower wings, I recommend leaving behind any expectations of tricking people into thinking they’re eating the non-vegan dish that inspired this one. Thankfully, it shouldn’t matter. The crispy panko-breaded exterior and tender cauliflower center should satisfy everyone aside from vegetable haters. I’ve infused Thai curry paste and peanut butter directly into the batter itself, so that each floret makes for the perfect bite. But to take it up another notch, drizzle or dip the wings with a sweet agave soy sauce.
Another thing worth mentioning: wait until your oven is completely hot before putting these Thai peanut cauliflower wings in. Patience is a virtue for getting the best crispy texture. Along those same lines, the panko bread crumb coating will get crispy pretty quickly, but wait until they wings are starting to brown before taking them out.
I had a friend over when I made and photographed these. We took out the first tray and ate them all while I took pictures. The second tray ended up accidentally getting left in the oven for longer than I intended, but they were browned to a perfect crisp and so much better for it. We therefore ate the entire batch of wings in one sitting (after I retook the photos). I do not recommend this. This batch of Thai peanut cauliflower wings is a task for three or more people – they’re quite filling and rich thanks to the coconut milk and peanut butter in the batter and the ample breadcrumbs in the coating. I suspect that they produce a food coma similar to what non-vegan wings might cause 🙂
Serve these little bites of deliciousness up at your next game day or finger food event (hint hint: Super Bowl). You and your guests, omnivores included, are sure to love them! Some prep work can be done in advance; see the recipe notes for my suggestions.
Thai Peanut Cauliflower Wings
- 5 to 6 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 small head of cauliflower)
- chopped roasted peanuts and sliced green onions for serving (optional)
For the batter:
- 1/2 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand is vegan)
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (the kind that's just peanuts and salt)
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1/8 tsp white pepper (or black pepper)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/3 cup white rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (see notes)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp water plus more as needed
For the bread crumb coating:
- 1 and 1/2 cups Panko-style bread crumbs (check labels - some brands contain milk)
- 3 tbsp white rice flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 3/8 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make the batter:
- Whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth. The batter should be fairly thick, but still thin enough to fall off of a spoon - this is to ensure excess batter can be gently shaken off of the cauliflower florets. Whisk in water a little bit at a time to thin if needed.
Make the bread crumb coating:
- Stir together all of the ingredients for the coating.
Prepare the Thai peanut cauliflower wings:
- One at a time, take the cauliflower florets and dip them in the batter, shaking off any excess. Transfer to the breadcrumb mixture and toss to coat, then place on the baking sheet, leaving room between the wings. This is easiest if you use two hands - one for picking up a floret, battering it, and dropping it into the bread crumb mixture; and the other hand for coating in the bread crumbs and placing on the baking sheet.
- Once you have filled the baking sheet (taking care not to crowd it), bake the Thai peanut cauliflower wings for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cauliflower is crisp-tender and batter is crisp and lightly browned.
Prepare the sauce:
- Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste. Drizzle over the cooked cauliflower wings or serve on the side as a dipping sauce (or both!)
- Sprinkle roasted peanuts and green onions over the wings and sauce. Serve immediately.
Yes, this is one of those annoying recipes that calls for an amount of coconut milk equal to less than one can. I often use this culinary coconut milk instead of cans if I know I'm going to have extra, because it's easy to save the leftover coconut milk in the fridge for another purpose.
If you're using rice flour, the batter can be mixed in advance and refrigerated. You may need to whisk in a bit of warm water to thin it out before using. I don't recommend making it in advance with all-purpose flour, since the gluten will start to develop and your wings won't get as crispy.
Thai peanut cauliflower wings inspired by Vegan Richa’s spicy baked cauliflower bites.