We first learned about this amazing dish when we were researching classic dishes that are enjoyed by families during Hanukkah.
It is a traditional Sephardic dish, and we just love the texture and flavor. It is such a delicious combination of spice, lemon, and crunchy-on-the-outside and tender-on-the-inside. All you need is a little extra coarse sea salt and a few squeezes of lemon. However, it would be delicious served with our Rosemary and Garlic Aioli!
How To Make Fried Cauliflower with Lemon
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The Ingredients You Will Need
There are not a lot of ingredients in this dish. Turmeric is common. We upped the flavor profile with smoked paprika and cayenne. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:
Cauliflower florets – Fresh is definitely best, and can be prepped hours in advance. If using frozen, let thaw completely and then dry completely.
Flour – All-purpose.
Seasonings – Turmeric, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Turmeric can be found in the ‘gourmet’ spice section of most well-stocked supermarkets.
Lemon zest – From 2 large lemons. Use a zester, microplaner, or the small holes on a box grater.
Eggs – Lightly beaten.
Oil – For frying. Canola oil or vegetable oil are great choices.
Parsley, lemon wedges, sea salt – For garnish.
EXPERT TIP: Boiling the cauliflower florets for 4 to 5 minutes helps to achieve the ideal texture. Don’t boil for more than 5 minutes, and we recommend immediately transferring them to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Over-cooking them will result in “mushy” cauliflower.
Tips for Perfect Fried Cauliflower with Lemon
Cut into Uniform Florets – Cutting the cauliflower into uniform florets ensures even cooking and consistent texture.
Coat Evenly – Make sure to coat the cauliflower florets evenly with the seasoning mixture to ensure that each piece is well-seasoned.
Fry in Batches – Fry the cauliflower in batches to prevent overcrowding the pan, which can lead to uneven cooking and soggy results.
Squeeze Lemon Juice Before Serving – Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fried cauliflower just before serving to add a bright, citrusy flavor that complements the earthy spices and adds a refreshing touch.
EXPERT TIP: Be sure to dry the cauliflower thoroughly before dredging in the seasoned flour and eggs. Also, sprinkling the cauliflower with salt before dredging ensure they are sufficiently seasoned. Placing the battered florets back in the flour will yield extra crispy cauliflower.
How To Serve
As mentioned, this is a popular dish to serve during the Hanukkah season. It’s wonderful to set out as an appetizer before the main feast, but it also makes a nice side dish.
Be sure to have plenty of lemon wedges and coarse sea salt for guests to help themselves.
These are definitely best served piping hot, soon after frying. You can do all of the prep up to dredging the florets hours in advance.
Other Delicious Hanukkah Recipes to Try
There are so many wonderful options for dishes when developing a Hanukkah feast. Here are a few of our favorites.
Matzo Ball Soup (not traditional at Hanukkah, but is perfectly acceptable).
Classic Latkes (Potato Pancakes)
Maple Glazed Carrots
Brisket with Carrots and Apricots
And, once again, these amazing fried pieces of cauliflower will round out an ideal Hanukkah feast.
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, you will absolutely love this dish.
We love to whip up a batch when watching the big game on Sunday, having friends over, or just looking for an appetizer that’s different than standard hot wings!
Every time we serve this fried cauliflower, we get rave reviews and folks always want the recipe. So tasty and beautiful, too!
Ready to make the best holiday (or anytime) appetizer in town? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!
Fried Cauliflower with Lemon
- Sturdy skillet for frying
- 1 large cauliflower cored and cut into 1" florets.
- Kosher salt
- canola oil or vegetable, for frying
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp black pepper plus more, to taste
- 2 tbsp lemon zest plus lemon wedges for serving
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped, for garnish
- Coarse sea salt for finishing, optional
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add cauliflower and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.1 large cauliflower
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer to an ice bath, then drain and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cauliflower all over with salt.Kosher salt
- Heat 2" oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350°F, or when a small piece of bread turns golden in the oil after about 1 minute.canola oil
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and lemon zest.1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp ground turmeric, 1 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 tbsp lemon zest
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs.4 eggs
- Working in batches, dredge the cauliflower in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess, then into the eggs, shaking off excess, and then back into the flour for another dredging.
- Fry, flipping as needed, until golden and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Place on a platter, sprinkle parsley on top, and a little coarse sea salt (if using). Serve at once with lemon wedges on the side.1 tbsp fresh parsley, Coarse sea salt
POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in December 2017, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography, and a fabulous new video in December 2023!