Popcorn Cauliflower Bites

Popcorn cauliflower bites are simpler to make than you might think. And they’re a terrific way to get some vegetables into those eaters that might ordinarily turn up their noses. A dish of creamy dip and you’re done.

A blue skillet with paper towel and a pile of breaded, deep-fried cauliflower. A bowl of dip in the background.

Adapted from Jo Pratt | The Flexible Family Cookbook | Frances Lincoln, 2020

They’re a brilliant party food snack, or a starter when entertaining. To avoid last-minute rushing around, coat the cauliflower florets in the crumbs and keep chilled, in a single layer on a tray. Then all you need to do is fry them and serve with garlic mayonnaise, ketchup, chile mayonnaise, or just a squeeze of lemon. — Jo Pratt

Popcorn Cauliflower Bites

A blue skillet with paper towel and a pile of breaded, deep-fried cauliflower. A bowl of dip in the background.

Dipping anything in breadcrumbs and frying until golden is always going to be a winner, and for anyone telling you they don’t like cauliflower, they may well change their minds if they try this.

Jo Pratt

Prep 20 mins

Cook 20 mins

Total 40 mins

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, paprika, oregano, garlic salt, and milk together until you have a smooth batter. Place the panko in a separate bowl.
  • Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter, allow excess to drip off, then roll them in the breadcrumbs to evenly coat. Place on a large plate or baking sheet while the oil heats.
  • Fill a wok or deep frying pan with about 2 inches (5 cm) of oil and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering and has reached 300°F, working in a few batches, carefully add the cauliflower florets. They should start to sizzle instantly when they hit the hot oil.
  • Fry until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Repeat with the remaining cauliflower florets.

  • Serve with garlic mayonnaise, ketchup, or chile mayonnaise to dip into or finish with a squeeze of lemon.

*What is chickpea flour?

Gluten-free and packed full of protein, chickpea flour is used to coat veggies for pakoras and to make socca, a super delish flatbread. It’s a pretty dense flour, but when used it cooks up light and crisp–especially when fried.
It doesn’t have much more flavor than plain white flour but packs a punch of protein (also less calories and carbs). Made from finely-milled chickpeas, you can make it at home from dried garbanzos, if you can’t find it in stores. Just give it a good whizz in your food processor and sift before use.

Serving: 1servingsCalories: 195kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 31g (10%)Protein: 10g (20%)Fat: 3g (5%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mg (1%)Sodium: 439mg (19%)Potassium: 359mg (10%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 226IU (5%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 101mg (10%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Originally published August 20, 2021

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