Char Siu Cauliflower Tacos with Cabbage, Carrot & Green Papaya Slaw

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I love Char siu bao and the Char Siu sauce that you can find at any Asian store. My mom would use it often for chicken wings on the bbq while I was growing up. We would dip them in a mixture of lime juice, salt and Chinese five spice. It was great to balance out the sweetness of the sauce. So I thought why not make a veggie version? I love cauliflower and the result is crunchy caramelized goodness. For the slaw, I kept the Asian vibes going but with a more Thai-style slaw.

This recipe makes 12 small tacos. You’ll have enough slaw to eat on the side or you can also make a second batch of cauliflower.


For the Cabbage, Carrot & Green Papaya Slaw:

3 cups of finely shredded purple cabbage

1 ½ cups of shredded carrot

3 cups of shredded green papaya

1 bunch of coriander, chopped

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

Juice of 1 lime

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of white vinegar

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

2 tablespoons of honey

Pinch of garlic powder

1 small red eye chili, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of ginger syrup (if you can’t find it just add an extra tablespoon of honey)

For the cauliflower:

1 medium cauliflower chopped into small florets (about 6 cups)

1/2 cups of Chinese BBQ sauce (Char siu sauce)

1 tablespoon of chili bean sauce

¼ cup of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of honey


1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for the pan

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

1 tablespoon of chopped chives

12 small tortillas


To make the slaw, just shred the green papaya, carrot and purple cabbage. Place them in a large bowl along with the chopped coriander.

To make the dressing for the slaw, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid. And shake it till it emulsifies. Pour the dressing over the slaw and mix well. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the char siu cauliflower, first mix the Chinese BBQ sauce, chili bean sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and honey in a large bowl. Then add the cauliflower florets and mix until they are evenly coated.

Place one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the cauliflower and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes till it caramelizes. Toss it or stir from time to time so it doesn’t burn.

Warm up the tortillas in a pan. To assemble the tacos, just place some of the slaw and then the char siu cauliflower. Finish it by sprinkling some sesame seeds and chopped chives. Enjoy!

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