Lunchbreak: Crispy cauliflower

Executive Chef and Partner Ken Carter

The Warbler is a neighborhood restaurant bringing elevated comfort food to Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

4535 N Lincoln Ave



Crispy Cauliflower


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 cup cauliflower batter

o ½ cup water

o ½ cup all-purpose flour

o ½ cup corn starch

o ¼ tsp salt

o ¼ tsp black pepper

  • 2 TBSP ponzu glaze

o 1 cup soy sauce

o 1 cup mirin

o Juice of 2 lemons

o Juice of 2 oranges

o 1 TBSP brown sugar

o 1 tsp garlic powder

o ¼ tsp red chili flakes

o ½ cup water

o ¼ cup corn starch

  • ½ cup pickled red onions

o 1 red onion

o 1 cup vinegar

o 1 cup water

o ½ cup sugar

o 1 TBSP salt

  • ½ gallon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 stalk scallions
  • ¼ cup roasted cashews
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds


For the cauliflower:

  • Remove the large stem from the cauliflower and cut up the florets into bite sized pieces.
  • Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil and add 1 TBSP salt.
  • Boil the cauliflower pieces for 2 minutes, then strain.
  • Place the cooked cauliflower into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
  • Once cooled, drain the cauliflower and set it aside.

For the cauliflower batter:

  • Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

For the ponzu glaze (this recipe makes more than you need):

  • Put all of the ingredients in a sauce-pot (except water and corn starch) and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the water and corn starch.
  • Slowly pour the water and corn starch mixture in the sauce-pot and stir until sauce thickens.
  • Cool down the sauce and set aside.

For the pickled red onions:

  • Slice the onion very thin and set aside in a container.
  • In a pot, bring all of the other ingredients to a boil.
  • Pour the mixture on the onions.
  • Let the mixture cool down to room temperature and set aside.

To Cook the cauliflower:

  • Heat the vegetable oil up to 350 F degrees in a large pot.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cauliflower with the batter, stirring to fully coat each floret.
  • Gently spoon the cauliflower to the oil and fry until golden brown (approximately 3-4 minutes).
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oil and put it in a large sauté pan and toss in 2 TBSP of ponzu glaze.

To assemble the dish:

  • Place cauliflower on a plate and top with the pickled red onion, cilantro, scallions, roasted cashews and toasted sesame seeds.
  • Serve immediately.