Chicken-Fried Cauliflower With Miso-Mushroom Gravy 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Mar 19, 2014

Consider this the vegetarian answer to chicken-fried steak, with an easy mushroom gravy seasoned with Japanese miso paste.

Serve with mashed potatoes and greens, if you like.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 small (1 1/2 pounds) head cauliflower
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 8 ounces stemmed shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable broth, plus more as needed


Trim the core from the bottom of the cauliflower, but don't cut it fully from the florets. Cut the cauliflower in half and then each half into 1-inch-thick steaks.

Set the slices (and any leftover trimmed pieces) in a large skillet over medium heat and pour in 1/4 inch of water. Once the water starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and gently steam the cauliflower until it barely starts to feel tender when you pierce it with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully transfer the cauliflower steaks and pieces to a plate to cool, then sprinkle them with the salt on both sides.

Put the eggs and flour in separate shallow bowls or plates. Stir the chili powder into the flour along with a little more salt. Dip the cauliflower in egg on both sides, then coat in the flour mixture, using a spoon or your fingers to help cover the cauliflower as completely as possible. (If the cauliflower steaks break up, just coat and fry the pieces.)

Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels, then seat a wire rack over it.

Pour the water out of the skillet; return it to medium-high heat and pour in 1/4 inch of the oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, gently lay the cauliflower steaks and pieces in the skillet. Fry until they are golden brown and crisp, 2 or 3 minutes. Turn them over and repeat the cooking on the second side. Transfer them to the rack to drain.

Pour off all but a scant teaspoon of the oil in the skillet, then return to medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they collapse and start to brown, a few minutes.

Whisk together the miso and broth in a cup until smooth, then stir that mixture into the mushrooms. Add broth as needed to create a pourable gravy, allowing it to heat through.

Divide the cauliflower among individual plates. Spoon the mushroom gravy on top; serve hot.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from Yonan's "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook," (Ten Speed Press, 2013).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at