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I tried to deep fry cauliflowers (without breading; I am NOT making tempura), but they turned out soft.

I have seen that done on TV where cauliflowers are freshly deep-fried and turn out to be crunchy. But when I tried doing that, the cauliflower ended up soft and somewhat soggy. I increased the frying time thinking that may help evaporate the moisture inside the cauliflower but it then turned out soft and soggy with oil instead of water.

Are there preparations that I need to do to the cauliflower, or are there something special that I need to add to the oil?

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First of all, what vegetables did they fry in on TV? I can see this working for starchier vegetables... but definitely not for something like onion which is made mostly of water. You would need batter for something like that. Even a really thin one would work. – Jay Mar 16 '12 at 2:18
Cauliflower exactly. Plain cauliflower. I deep fried it and it turned soggy with a mix of oil and water.. – KMC Mar 16 '12 at 2:19
flowerettes or sliced? i'm guessing stem is longer cooking than flower and evening the 2 out by slicing would reduce frying time... just guessing. They won't have a chance to brown, just heat thru, without going soggy cooked. I reckon just seconds til they reach hot-stirfry-crunchiness at 160c – Pat Sommer Mar 16 '12 at 10:40
Flowerettes (I don't even know this word exist..). It's hand peeled (and break off). – KMC Mar 17 '12 at 0:55
Florets, guys. Just FYI. – heathenJesus Mar 17 '12 at 13:56
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You need to cover soft vegetables in egg or batter first. Normally the vege's are steamed first to actually cook, cooled, then egg washed or lightly battered and flash deep fried in hot oil just to set the thin batter

Try Indian style spicy pea/chickpea flour batters

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