This Asian BBQ Cauliflower Wing recipe will transport your taste buds halfway across the world. Bite-sized pieces of cauliflower smothered in a sticky, sweet and rich Korean BBQ sauce. Perfect for a party appetizer, side dish or just because!
Cauliflower wings or bites have become a favourite on appetizer menus in any pub these days. Taking the lead from the forever favourite chicken wings and moving into the new plant-based trend. All the flavour choices of chicken wings without the chicken.
But who would have thought that cauliflower would be the item to replace a chicken wing? I mean really. That bland white veggie that sits lonely on veggie platters begging for some attention?
The beauty of cauliflower is just that… it is bland. So when you bake it and add sauce the flavours of the sauce become the hero of the dish.
Now don’t get me wrong most pub cauliflower bites are anything but good for you. They are almost always fried just like a chicken wing so they are usually full of fat. This Cauliflower wing recipe though is made using an air-fryer to bake these bites to crispy perfection in a much healthier way.
How to make cauliflower wings
To make them simply break a cauliflower head into small bite-size bites and cut off any of the long stems so they are round almost like a nugget.
Then dredge them in an egg bath, toss them in panko bread crumbs and put them on a wire rack. Air-fry them for about 15 minutes at 400°F and then toss them in Korean BBQ Sauce.
The baskets in air-fryers are quite a bit smaller than a regular baking sheet so you may need to cook these in two batches. You want to leave a bit of room between each cauliflower bite so that the air-fryer can work its magic and circulate air all around each bite.
If you don’t have an air-fryer I have made these using a convection oven too. You can sit the bites on a heat-resistant rack or flip them halfway through to make sure they are cooked and crisp on all sides. When they are done the cauliflower should still be firm but fork tender.
How to make Asian bbq sauce
To make the sauce simply add the honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ketchup, ginger, pepper, sesame oil, rice vinegar and garlic to a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir often until honey is melted and the liquid begins to boil.
Then add a 1/4 cup of cold water to a small cup and 2 tsp of corn starch. Mix well until liquid is smooth and all of the corn starch is dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the Korean BBQ sauce mixture and stir. Lower heat to medium and continue stirring until sauce thickens.
If you like Asian-inspired fare you might want to check out this recipe for Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs. A little spicy, sweet and quick to prepare.
Remove from heat and in a large bowl toss the cooked cauliflower wings with the Korean BBQ sauce until they are well coated and serve. This cauliflower wing recipe is best served hot and right away so that they are their crispiest. But you can also eat them cooled or reheated.
How to Store Air-Fried Cauliflower
Store these in the fridge for up to 3 days. The coating will lose its crispiness but this recipe will still taste good. If it will be a bit before you eat them or they are going to sit out I would recommend putting the sauce in a separate bowl and just dipping them instead.
They are best eaten right away though and as for freezing them once they are sauced, I wouldn’t recommend it. Again the coating will just be soggy.
Can You Freeze battered Cauliflower?
Yes absolutely! Batter them as per the instructions then place them on a parchment-lined tray and stick them in the freezer. Doing this will allow each individual piece to freeze and prevent them from sticking together as a lump.
When you are ready to eat just take them out of the freezer and air-fry right away. Add an extra 7-10 minutes depending on your air-fryer so that the cauliflower has a chance to thaw and cook. Then sauce them or dip them into the sauce as you wish!
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Air-Fryer Asian BBQ Cauliflower Wing Recipe
- Air-Fryer or Convection Oven
- Wire Cooking Rack
- Large Bowl
- Small Bowl
- Small Pot
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- 1 head cauliflower medium
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 3 eggs large
Korean BBQ Sauce
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup water cold
- 2 tsp corn starch
- Preheat air-fryer or convection oven to 400 F
- Wash and dry a medium head of cauliflower. Cut cauliflower crown bit-size pieces removing any stems.
- In a small bowl add 3 large eggs beat. In a large bowl add 2 cups of panko bread crumbs. Dip each piece of cauliflower first in the egg mixture and then into the panko bread crumbs. Before adding each piece to the panko bread crumbs be sure to shake off any excess egg. Toss the cauliflower in the panko bread crumbs and then place on a wire rack that will sit on top of the baking sheet. Ensure the cauliflower pieces are not touching or crowded so there is room for air to fully circulate around each piece. Air-fry or bake for 15 minutes. If using a convection oven flip the cauliflower pieces halfway through cooking.
- Meanwhile in a small pot over medium-high heat add 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 1/3 cup honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp ketchup, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 2 minced garlic cloves. Stir to combine and let come to a small boil.
- In a small bowl add 1/4 cup of cold water and 2 tsp of cornstarch. Mix well until cornstarch has been fully dissolved. Pour into the BBQ sauce mixture and mix well. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer the sauce until it thickens. About 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked cauliflower pieces to a large bowl ad add the sauce. Toss until each cauliflower wing is fully coated. Serve immediately.