During the CNY holidays, Chinese people go home.

And I mean, everybody, goes home.

Good people, bad people, people including the government who, day in and day out, guard its Chinese great firewall that Censors all freedom of communication to the outside world.  Yeah, those fuckers.  They go home, too.  Hey, even bad people need vacation.  Now, logic may have you think that it’s a good thing.  Censors gone, Facebook in.  Right?  Fuck no.  To understand it further, just imagine this:  The relationship between the Chinese government and its internet as sort of like… a psychopathically suspicious husband (the government) and his virgin wife (internet).  A wife who, on a typical day, is neatly brainwashed and filled with husband-worshipping propagandist fantasies.  The husband loves his stupid wife and likes to do kinky stuff to her behind closed doors, but at the same time, he also knows that she is unstably horny at any given hours, and wants to screw the free-thinking hot neighbours at every chances she gets.  So what happens when a jealous husband needs to leave home for awhile?  Letting his pure propagandist internet get raped by the terrors of free wills and information?  Of course not.

So what does he do?  Two words, chastity belt.


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For the past 10 days, all means to access blocked websites (guess what? that includes wordpress, too!) on my computer was completely taken down by the government.  And today, for the first time in an internet-eternity, I am finally getting a flickering signal and am able to log on to my blog.  I don’t know how long this “window” is going to be, so let me talk fast.

I want to share with you, a recipe from one of the most beautiful cookbooks out there, the single joy and light of my daily suffering for the past however-many days of cyber solitary confinement. The charred cauliflower with garlic and vinegar, from Gjenlina.

This dish is said to be one of the most highly requested dish from this celebrated restaurant in California. I have no doubt that in many customers’ hearts, the recipe is a shot of perfection as it is, but I still made quite a few changes. Not to “better” it, but to personalise it in a way that mirrors closer to my own style. Instead of using pre-made garlic confits, I quick-brined some garlics in fish sauce which softened and flavoured the cloves, then I fried them in olive oil until golden browned, sweet and tender. I then use the garlic-frying oil and reserved fish sauce to roast the cauliflower. Gjelina’s recipe instructed to brown the florets in skillet first then finish cooking in the oven, but I don’t have a skillet large enough to brown the florets properly, so instead, I just charred them 2″ below the broiler and it did the job pretty well. Then finally, instead of red wine vinegar, I used a mixture of tabasco sauce and white wine vinegar to get that sharp chili flavour and extra kicks. It was a healthy feast of robust and lively flavours, spicy and salty, acidic and sweet all at one crunchy and caramelised bite.

There’s not that many vegetable dishes that make me say unholy things like “I didn’t miss the meat at all“, but I think this recipe pulled the unthinkable.


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*Believe it or not, after I found out that the recipe was missing, it took me 20+ tries to get it back online….. fuck.


Serving Size: 2

Inspired/adapted generously from GJELINA cookbook


  • 5 cloves garlics
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4~6 small dried chili
  • 1/3 cup (68 grams) olive oil
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp tabasco sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • sea salt and chili flakes to season


  1. Lightly smash the garlics to peel the skin, then brine in fish sauce for 20 min. Meanwhile, clean and cut the cauliflowers into small florets, trimming the tough fibres/skins off of the stems, then scatter evenly on a sheet-pan. Preheat the broil on high.
  2. Remove the garlics from the fish sauce (reserve the fish sauce), then transfer into a small pot with dried chili and olive oil. Cook over low heat for 7~9 min, until the garlics are golden browned and soft. Remove the garlics and chili, set aside. Pour the garlic-oil over the caulifowers, along with reserved fish sauce, black pepper and white pepper, then toss to evenly coat every florets. Place the baking-sheet about 2" under the broiler, and char until the first sides are deeply caramelised. Turn the cauliflowers over, then broil until the other sides are charred as well, and that the cauliflowers are soft. Re-season with sea salt if needed.
  3. Transfer the cauliflowers, along with all the oil and juices into a large skillet. Add the reserved fried garlic, chili, white wine vinegar, tabasco sauce and chopped parsley. Cook over meidum-high heat, tossing to combine, until everything is heated through. Sprinkle with chili flakes and serve.


  • Jessica

    February 17, 2016 at 10:57 PM Reply

    I could eat those garlics all day!

  • Em

    February 17, 2016 at 11:01 PM Reply

    Wow this looks so beautiful and delicious! I’m not sure if you’re able to access the internet at this time (or if they’ve shut it down again…), but is there a way to get the recipe? :)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 18, 2016 at 1:36 AM Reply

      EM, arrrggghhhh!!! took me forever to get the recipe online! sorry!

      • Em

        March 1, 2016 at 11:36 PM Reply

        Hi Mandy, just wanted to let you know that I made this recipe the other day and it was AMAZING! Using multiple bowls/pans was worth it. Thank you so much for posting the recipe and all of your hard work! :)

      • Em

        March 1, 2016 at 11:39 PM Reply

        Oh man, I just read your edit about trying 20+ times to log on…thanks again, I appreciate you posting the recipe! I hope it gets easier to use the computer over there!

  • Poshnessary

    February 17, 2016 at 11:28 PM Reply

    Great recipe!!

    Kisses from

  • Karen

    February 18, 2016 at 12:16 AM Reply

    I saw this and my first thought was, “That’s happening for dinner.” But….there is no recipe. Can we please get the recipe? Oh, and we LOVE your KissAss Dip. It is made regularly at our house. Really, a lot of your recipes are regulars around here. Thank you so much for them!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 18, 2016 at 1:37 AM Reply

      Karen, sorry!!!! Internet nightmare!!! I finally get the recipe online after 2 hours…

      • Karen

        February 18, 2016 at 2:08 AM Reply

        Oh YES!!! Thank you so much! I really appreciate you going to the work of getting it posted.

  • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

    February 18, 2016 at 12:41 AM Reply

    I love how the cauliflower in China has more stem, I think they taste better in most applications. The cauliflower we get here in California has more of an oversized bushy ‘flower’ portion (the white part), they are kind of like large and dense with no negative space and the texture ends up more brittle.

  • Kara | Sorghum and Starch

    February 18, 2016 at 12:47 AM Reply

    Ohh, this looks so good! Gjelina has been making waves for a while, and now I can see why.

  • Caleb

    February 18, 2016 at 1:03 AM Reply

    Mandy, I love your vulgarity. I usually don’t read the blurbs before the recipe, but you are good.

  • Kari

    February 18, 2016 at 1:18 AM Reply

    Charred cauliflower is my favorite. I can eat it just like popcorn!

  • rebecca | DisplacedHousewife

    February 18, 2016 at 2:33 AM Reply

    Yum, Mandy — love your interpretation/inspiration/adaptation. Sounds delicious! Don’t let the man keep you down. xo

  • andrea

    February 18, 2016 at 3:46 AM Reply

    This is a story! ….no more meat ^.- chastity

  • Sabrina

    February 18, 2016 at 7:20 AM Reply

    Beautiful recipe! Love all the twists you made from the original recipe in your cookbook :)

  • Dawn Barnhart

    February 18, 2016 at 9:04 AM Reply

    I cannot believe the bullshit that is China. How DO you guys stand it?!
    However, this dish look absolutely fab – and I’m not much of a cauliflower fan. Thanks Mandy! :)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 18, 2016 at 1:45 PM Reply

      Dawn, gonna get myself out of this shit-hole is what…

  • ellie

    February 18, 2016 at 9:55 AM Reply

    I can’t believe even the internet is honed into that strictly! Though I don’t love the control issues going on there, I do appreciate your openness and lesson on the culture/government. It makes your blog that much more intriguing. And omgshhh I ate this at Gjelina and it was amaaaazing!

  • John

    February 19, 2016 at 12:50 AM Reply

    Hey, do you read the Sunday New York Times mag. by any chance? This is the second time I was about to dive into one of their recipes, this time for Cauliflower, the last time for egg yolks “cooked” in soy, and then you come up with something that looks way better to me! probably just coincidence. Sorry for your internet and other troubles. I love your blog, and am eternally grateful for your Szechuan chili oil recipe!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 19, 2016 at 1:59 PM Reply

      John, I have the NYTimes online subscription but I don’t know if it includes the Sunday edition.. I will go check it out! Thanks and enjoy!

  • Angelyn

    February 23, 2016 at 9:37 AM Reply

    made this today with some green beans too and had for dinner with some leftover chicken. my taste buds bow down to you.

  • Max D

    February 25, 2016 at 9:19 PM Reply

    Another great recipe Mandy!

    Cauliflower is definitely one of the most underrated vegetables out there!

    It’s enjoying something a rare moment in the spotlight in the London culinary scene at the moment mostly thanks to Ottolenghi and the lovely folks at Moro

    At the restaurant I work at we’re about to put on a dish of scallops with cauliflower puree, pickled raw cauliflower and saffron roasted cauliflower with pine nuts and raisins all soused in curry oil – I would highly recommend just giving the saffron roasted cauliflower part a try! I serve it home with green olives alongside the nuts and raisins and the acidic kick of vinegar really helps!

    I also find just dousing florets with some olive oil, sumac and chilli flakes and whacking it in the oven turns out one of my favourite drinking snacks ever – perfect to convert any cauliflower non-believers.

  • Ingrid - Let's talk evergreen

    March 7, 2016 at 10:20 PM Reply

    Looks great Mandy! So simple, yet delicious! x

  • Angela

    May 25, 2016 at 9:50 PM Reply

    This dish was delicious, thank you! Reminded me of your broccoli steak recipe, which I also loved.


    July 15, 2016 at 5:55 PM Reply

    Free knowledge like this doesn’t just help, it promote democracy. Thank you.

  • vorzeitige kündigung kredit

    December 12, 2016 at 8:03 PM Reply

    You forgot stage 4: "Those idiots!" It's what happens when you become an established scientist yourself, and somebody publishes something that disagrees with your pet theory. I've noticed this out of a few people, who seem to know a better way to do every study they read about.And who knows, maybe they do.

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