I’ll be honest. I’ve never had the KFC Famous Bowl. I don’t even know if I’ve had KFC more than once in my life. But. I’ve seen people recreate this, and I wanted to try my hand at a vegan version. Cuz. Why not, amiright? This post is a long one, but it is a multi-part recipe that includes the seasoning blend, the cauliflower wings, the gravy, and even the mashed potatoes. I’d give you a corn recipe, but, it’s just corn.
Here’s what’s in the The Bowl, starting from the base up. This post gives you the recipes for the seasoning blend, the gravy, the cauliflower wings, and mashed potatoes. For cheese I like Violife vegan cheese, and I know it should be cheddar for The Famous Bowl look, but I only had mozzarella on the photo day. Just imagine that the cheese is yellow.
The Bowl, starting from the base on up:
- Mashed Potatoes
The first step in making these cauliflower wings is to create the spice blend. This makes enough for at least two batches, and you could use this on fries, veggies, popcorn, or really just about anything.
The Spice Blend
- 1/2 Tbl table salt
- 1/2 Tbl thyme
- 1/2 Tbl basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 Tbl celery salt
- 1 Tbl black pepper
- 1 Tbl ground mustard
- 4 Tbl Hungarian sweet paprika
- 2 Tbl garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 Tbl ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground white pepper
Put it all into a 1/2 pint jar and shake it up.
The Cauliflower Wings!
- 1 head medium cauliflower, cut into florets
- 12 oz soft Tofu (I use Mori-Nu)
- 1 Tbl maple syrup
- 2 cups oatmilk (I use unsweetened The OatYeah)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup panko
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 Tbl seasoning blend
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 Tbl seasoning blend
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Cut cauliflower into small florets. Think little wings sized.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk tofu until smooth. Add the oatmilk, maple syrup, and seasoning. Whisk until fully incorporated.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, panko, and baking powder.
- Fold the dry into the wet. The batter should be thick but thin enough to be able to coat the cauliflower.
- Using the same bowl that you mixed the dry ingredients in, whisk together the 1 cup flour and 1 Tbl seasoning mix. Set aside.
- Rinse cauliflower in water and shake until most of the water is removed.
- Dip the cauliflower into the separate flour mix and then dredge each into the batter.
- Place the battered cauliflower on the lined baking sheets. Once both sheets are filled you’re ready to bake.
- Bake for 20 min.
- Remove from oven and spray with cooking oil to cover. You can skip this step but it does make it crispy.
- Bake for 10 min. Remove from oven, flip, spray with oil to cover the bottoms.
- Bake for a final 10 minutes. At this point you can enjoy them or toss them into an airfryer at 360 F for 7 min to crisp them up even more.
The Gravy Recipe
- 8 oz baby portobello mushrooms
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbl Vegemite (or 2 Tbl dark soy sauce)
- 3 Tbl all purpose flour
- 2 cups oatmilk
- Chop mushrooms, onion, and garlic.
- Saute in a dry pan using 1 Tbl of water at a time to avoid burning. The mushrooms should start to brown and the onion should be translucent and beginning to brown.
- Add in the Vegemite and stir to combine.
- Sprinkle the flour in top evenly and mix to coat the vegetables.
- Pour in the oatmilk and heat while whisking until bubbling. Turn heat down to low and whisk occasionally.
The Mashed Potatoes
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 Tbl unsalted butter (I use Earth Balance)
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prep the potatoes by peeling and chopping them into 1/2″ cubes. You don’t need to peel them, but for the sake of the creamy white pile of mashed potatoes they need to be peeled.
In a medium sized add potatoes and enough cold water to cover by 2-3.” Boiling the water before adding potatoes cooks the outside first which traps in too much starch. Add 1 Tbl of salt to the water. Bring the water to a low simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, but do not rinse the cooked potatoes.
Pour the potatoes back into the pot. Add butter and garlic and onion powder and mash using a heavy spoon or potato masher. Skip the electric mixer, because it’s easy to overwork your potatoes. Mix only the butter into the potatoes until they are crumbly and fully broken down.
Pour 3/4 cup of the milk into the nearly mashed potatoes. Continue to mash and mix. Add more milk based on preferred consistency. Taste and add salt or pepper as preferred.
Important Tip for Mashed Potatoes
It seems simple enough to make mashed potatoes. Boil some potatoes, toss in butter and milk, mix. But, a lot of people, most people, make them without understanding a key principle in starch. That’s why some mashed potatoes have a thick, glue-like consistency while others are dry and brittle. Getting a smooth and fluffy mashed potato isn’t about ingredients, it’s about process.
Potatoes, especially russet, are very starchy. Boiling the potatoes releases a lot of the starch into the water, that’s why the water gets cloudy, and some of the starch coats the outside of the potato cubes after draining. Rinsing your boiled potatoes will make them too dry, and it cools them down too much. Cutting them too small releases too much starch. Leaving the potatoes whole or halved doesn’t release enough starch. It’s a Goldilocks scenario. 1/2″ cubes seem to be the best size.
This is the step that’s vital for non-glue mashed potatoes. It’s the step that gets skipped or reversed. Fully mix your fat into the potatoes before adding liquid. You can use butter, or olive oil, or any vegetable oil. But you should add the fat before your milk. Why? The fat coats the potatoes and combines with the starch so that your potatoes will whip smoother and won’t feel greasy.
Heat your milk before mixing it in. Sure, you can add cold milk in and your potatoes will be fine. But they will be cold. Then you have to reheat them. Which means you’re probably going to mix them again. Which means your potatoes will be less light and fluffy and more glue-like and dense. You don’t need to melt the butter, because it’ll melt quickly on the hot potatoes, but you should heat your milk before mixing it in.
Now, if you’re vegan, which there’s a good chance you are since you’re reading my blog and you’ve made it all the way to the end of this recipe, you’ll be using a plant based milk. Obvi. Milk matters for savory dishes. I like using The OatYeah by Silk, because it is the least flavored and sugared non-dairy milk I’ve used. Nut-based milks, especially cashew I’ve found, have sweetener added and some flavoring, even if it’s unflavored, which makes savory dishes like this taste off. OatYeah works great and I use it for all of my cooking and baking. You could also make your own oatmilk, but that’s a pain.
Want more recipes? Head over to www.instagram.com/CrowMoonKitchen for many, many more recipes than I could ever blog about.