Cauliflower Tomato Stir Fry (花菜炒番茄 Hua Cai Chao Fan Qie）
October 17, 2020
Cauliflower Tomato Stir Fry is a simple, healthy, and tasty vegetarian dish. As a mom, I try to include a variety of vegetables in the meals I prepare for my two boys. With high amount of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants, cauliflower definitely ranks pretty high on my list of vegetables. So far, my boys have been quite receptive to cauliflower. My oldest one likes it a bit crunchy especially, while my baby boy is intrigued by the tiny little flowers I put in his bowl.
Cauliflower by itself tastes pretty plain and mild. Sometimes it even has an unpleasant smell during cooking, which is actually due to the natural sulfur compounds found in cauliflower. These sulfur compounds are also discovered in other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, brussel sprouts, etc. Despite the somewhat unpleasant smell, it is said that these sulfur compounds have many health benefits.
The important question here is how do we minimize cauliflower’s smell so it can be more appealing and appetizing? Cooking cauliflower with tomatoes is a good way to eliminate the smell. When stir fried with tomatoes, any unpleasant smell is gone. What’s left is a transformed cauliflower, soaked with the tomato’s acidic and sweet juice.
This appetizing and succulent dish goes well with rice, porridge, and noodles. It can also be used as a side dish to meaty entrees. Your kids will thank you in years to come for getting them to like cauliflower.
Gluten Free, Low Carb, Vegan
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6 people
- 1 small to medium cauliflower head
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 3 garlic gloves
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or dried chili (optional)1
- 1 and ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper
- Heat a large pot of water in a saucepan. The hot water will be used to blanch the cauliflower. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the other ingredients.
- Cut the cauliflower head with a knife or break it with your hands into smaller florets. Do not include the thick stem parts. Rinse the florets with water. Cut the garlic gloves into thin slices. Remove the skin of the tomatoes by first making a cross cut at the bottom of each tomato then immersing them in boiling or very hot water. The skins will be readily peel off after 1-2 minutes. If you need more detail and pictures, follow the instructions in step 2 from my Tomato Fish Fillet Tofu Stew recipe. Cut the peeled tomatoes into small wedges.
- When the water is boiling, add the cauliflower florets. Add a few drops of oil and maintain the heat at medium-high. Blanch the cauliflower for 2 minutes only in the hot water. After 2 minutes, take the cauliflower out and rinse under cold water immediately. Thoroughly drain the water out and set the blanched cauliflower florets aside.
- Heat a large skillet under medium-high heat. Once the skillet is getting hot, add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, then add the garlic and the red pepper flakes or dried chili. After the garlic releases its aroma, which is usually within 30 seconds to 1 minute, add the tomato wedges and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, stirring to mix.
- Stir occasionally to prevent the tomatoes from sticking to the bottom of the skillet. After the tomatoes have released a good amount of juice (about 2 minutes), add the cauliflower florets, gently stirring and tossing to combine the tomatoes with the cauliflower florets. Then add the 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper.
- After 2 minutes of tossing, the cauliflower florets should be cooked but still crisp. The tomatoes are well-blended and mostly liquid. Transfer to a dish and enjoy. If preferring a softer cauliflower texture, keep tossing for 1-2 more minutes or until desired level of softness is achieved. The dish is best enjoyed while hot.
- Adding the chili pepper flakes or whole dried chili pepper is completely optional and based on personal preference. Here I used a super mild dried chili pepper. The spiciness is so subtle that even my 4 year old boy, who is quite sensitive to spicy food, cannot tell it’s there.