This recipe teams "a classic Chinese sweet and sour sauce with chickpea-battered cauliflower and instant ramen noodles, in an irresistable salad to please all ages." Hetty McKinnon (Family)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the ramen noodles. Cook according to the package instructions, until the noodles are just cooked. Drain and rinse under running water until the noodles are completely cold. (I would add the sesame oil now, so the noodles don't clump together). Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, 1 cup (250 ml) of cold water (or club soda or seltzer), garlic and a big pinch of sea salt together until smooth. (I added an egg). (Note: Cold water slows the development of gluten, and that allows the oil to get into and around the batter. That's also why you want the batter to be lumpy - you don't want to work it too much.)
Place a frying pan (I used a wok) over a medium-high heat and add a layer of sunflower or vegetable oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan). When hot (test with a wooden chopstick or spoon; if it sizzles, the oil is ready).
Note: I dredged my vegetable pieces in flour before dipping then into the tempura batter.
Dip each piece of cauliflower into the chickpea batter and carefully place it straight into the oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden all over.
Remove and place on absorbent paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Repeat the process until you have fried all the cauliflower, making sure you are controlling the temperature of the oil at all times-increasing and reducing the heat as needed-to ensure you get an even golden color.
Add the sugar, vinegar, tamari or soy sauce, tomato sauce, and garlic to a small saucepan, and place over a low heat. Stir and bring to a boil.
Whisk the cornstarch together with 2 tablespoons of cold water until dissolved. Then slowly stir the cornstarch mixture into the pan.
Reduce the heat to low, and continue stirring for 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thickened.
Combine the noodles with the red bell pepper slices and sesame oil. Season with sea salt and white pepper, and toss together.
Top the noodles with the sweet and sour cauliflower. Scatter the top of the dish with the sesame seeds and scallions.