Dry Pot Cauliflower is a restaurant favorite that we’ve had countless times in China. It’s our vegetable of choice when eating out. You might think it sounds boring, but we discovered that cauliflower can be amazingly delicious with a little spice, saltiness and the addition of pork belly.
Why Is it Called “Dry Pot” Cauliflower?
There is a reason why this dish is called Dry Pot Cauliflower, or 干锅菜花 (gan guo cai hua). Restaurants usually serve dishes like this in a miniature wok over a tiny chafing dish flame.
As I write this, I’m remembering the thin layer of sliced onions at the bottom. The onions caramelize in the sauce from the heat of the little flame as you eat, preventing the cauliflower from overcooking and adding a perfect little surprise at the end of the dish.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a small chafing dish setup, but if you do, why not try this with that thin layer of sliced onions at the bottom?
You may be familiar with dry pot dishes, as there’s a big variety of ingredients prepared in this way––you can find dry pot chicken wings, dry pot beef, and even dry pot frog legs! In China, it usually has its own section on the menu to let you pick and choose from different combinations.
See if You Can Find This Special Cauliflower Variety
One other note before we start cooking. You’ll notice the cauliflower I used here is pretty unique looking. In Beijing, they call it “organic cauliflower” (but I doubt it’s organic), and in other Chinese produce markets, it’s called Taiwanese cauliflower. Online, I’ve also found names like fioretto, karifurore cauliflower, flowering cauliflower, and sprouting cauliflower.
This variety of cauliflower has small flower buds and long, light green stems. It tastes sweeter and more herbaceous than your standard white cauliflower.
It’s also less dense and more tender than regular cauliflower, and soaks up sauces and flavor a bit better, I find.
But you can use any cauliflower you can find for this recipe!
Dry Pot Cauliflower Recipe Instructions
Add the pork…all in one layer on the surface of the wok.
Turn up the heat, and cook until the meat turns opaque.
Next, add the cauliflower and red bell peppers. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, ¼ teaspoon sugar, and ½ cup water. Stir, cover, and cook for 1- 2 minutes. (I like more tender cauliflower, so I cook it for 2 minutes.)
Uncover, add the scallions, give it a stir, and serve!
Dry Pot Cauliflower
- 8 ounces pork belly (225g, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (plus ½ teaspoon, divided)
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce (plus 1 tablespoon, divided)
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (plus 1 tablespoon, divided)
- 1 pound cauliflower (450g)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 10 cloves garlic
- 4 slices ginger (julienned)
- 3 dried chilies (chopped, optional)
- ½ of a red bell pepper (sliced)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup water
- 3 scallions (cut into 2-inch lengths)
- Prepare the pork belly. Marinate it with ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon light soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine. Set aside. Wash the cauliflower and cut it into bite sized pieces.
- Heat the oil in a wok set over medium heat. Cook the garlic cloves for a minute. Add the ginger and chilies (if using), and cook for another minute. Add the pork, turn up the heat, and cook until the meat turns opaque.
- Next, add the cauliflower and red bell peppers. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, ¼ teaspoon sugar, and ½ cup water. Stir, cover, and cook for 1- 2 minutes. (I like more tender cauliflower, so I cook it for 2 minutes.)
- Uncover, add the scallions, give it a stir, and serve!