Recipe: Spicy Cauliflower Stir-Fry

updated Jan 29, 2020
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Stir-Fry
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I’m convinced that if you take any vegetable, drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and throw it in the oven for 20 minutes, you’ll get some of the best-tasting veggies ever — with little to no effort. One vegetable in particular takes to this treatment especially well: cauliflower. Whenever I make a batch of the stuff, it disappears without preamble.

Well, with this Meatless Monday recipe, that roasted cauliflower gets a major update. Because what do you do if you want that roasted cauliflower to be your main dish as opposed to just a side? Why, you serve it with rice, of course! And you take that glorious roasted cauliflower and quickly stir-fry it with some onions, garlic, chili, ginger, and scallions.

(Image credit: The Woks of Life)

This roasted cauliflower stir-fry is actually a riff on a dish we used to order in restaurants all the time in Beijing. It was usually brought out to the table in a miniature wok with a candle underneath it to keep it warm and to crisp up the cauliflower as it sat on the table. This version gets you similar results, but roasting the cauliflower first makes the process much easier.

Spooned over a pile of steamed rice, it’s a complete meal. Vegetarians will rejoice. (And so will die-hard carnivores).

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    large head cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 4 tablespoons

    vegetable oil, divided

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 (1/4-inch thick) slices

    fresh ginger

  • 1

    small onion, thinly sliced

  • 5 cloves

    garlic, thinly sliced

  • 2

    medium scallions, cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths

  • 2 tablespoons

    Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons

    tamari or soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    toasted (Asian) sesame oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    granulated sugar

  • Steamed rice, for serving (optional)


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread into an even layer and roast until crisp and golden, stirring halfway through, about 30 minutes total.

  2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the ginger and stir-fry until caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes more, making sure they don't burn.

  3. Turn up the heat to high, then add the roasted cauliflower and scallions. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the Shaoxing rice wine or sherry, tamari or soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes if using, and sugar. Stir-fry for about 1 minute, then serve with steamed rice if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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For more recipes, amusing anecdotes, and a wellspring of advice on Chinese cooking methods and ingredients, check out The Woks of Life. You can also follow the Leung family on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.