I love cauliflower. It’s one of those vegetables that I am happy to eat steamed with no seasoning – I just love the flavor and the texture, and I don’t care that cooking it means stinking up the house. But for those of you who don’t share my strange love of smelly vegetables (I also loved plain cooked cabbage and I adore brussel sprouts) here’s a recipe that takes cauliflower to a whole new level, infusing it with some amazing Indian flavors that will have the biggest anti-cauliflowerites coming back for seconds.
The original recipe is from Marlena Spieler’s “Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking”, and the recipe originates with the Bene Israel Jewish community of Mumbai. I have made some adjustments so that you can easily find all the ingredients – the original has some obscure ingredients that aren’t readily available in supermarkets.
After I made this for the first time, I realized that the sauce would be just as delicious with potatoes. So the next time I prepared this dish, I added cubed, roasted potatoes, and it worked beautifully. It’s a yummy optional extra if you want the dish to stretch a little further.
CAULIFLOWER IN INDIAN SPICED COCONUT SAUCE
1 head cauliflower, broken up into small florets
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup water
½ teaspoon chili powder or 1 small green chili finely chopped (adjust the chili according to your taste – use 1 teaspoon chili powder if you like things hot!)
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon mustard powder or mustard seeds or Dijon mustard (smooth)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 can coconut cream
Juice of 2 lemons
(Optional) 2 medium potatoes cut into small cubes and oil for roasting
How to do it
1. (Optional – potatoes) Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the cubed potatoes in a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Toss the potatoes with oil, and sprinkle salt over them. Roast for about 45 minutes or until they are cooked through and starting to get golden, tossing them occasionally. Set aside.
2. Mix the flour with a little water until you get a smooth paste. Add the chili, coriander, cumin, mustard, turmeric, curry powder, salt and the rest of the water, and mix well to create a spice paste.
3. Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet. Add the spice paste and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cauliflower, and stir, letting the spices coat all the florets. Add the coconut cream, mix and bring to the boil. Reduce the flame and simmer until the cauliflower is tender but not overcooked (about 10 minutes). Optional – add the potatoes, and stir the mixture thoroughly so they are coated with the sauce. Allow to simmer for a few minutes more.
4. Remove from heat and add the juice of the lemons. Serve hot.