Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lunch, by way of India

Cauliflower is one of my very favorite vegetables, but somehow there's been a severe lack of cauliflower coverage on the site—in fact, not since my very first blog post over four years ago have I talked about this crucifer. Well, it's high time that's corrected.

My favorite way to prepare cauliflower is to roast it at a high temperature. If you're used to soggy, bland cauliflower, likely served steamed perhaps at some point in your childhood, then you wouldn't even recognize it roasted: it becomes golden, crisp-tender and incredibly rich in flavor, much like a roasted potato.

I usually go one of two routes when roasting my cauliflower: the Mediterranean, almost Provençal one, in which the cooked vegetable is tossed with capers and parsley and topped with toasted breadcrumbs; or the Indian one, in which the cauliflower is accented with warm, aromatic spices like cumin, coriander and mustard seed.

Cauliflower is an integral part of the cuisine in India, a country where over 30% of population is vegetarian. Aloo gobi, or potatoes and cauliflower in a curried stew, is probably the best-known such dish in this country, but other popular cauliflower dishes include cauliflower fritters and cauliflower and mung bean stew.

It's for that reason that I often turn to India when roasting this vegetable: simply tossing it in a mixture of dried spices, and sometimes throwing in some spicy chiles, before letting it get browned and toasty in a hot oven. That's what I did today; topped with yogurt and sprinkled with fresh cilantro, it made a tasty lunch.

Indian-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower
Serves 3 - 4 as a side dish


1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 jalapeños or similar green chiles, seeds intact, halved lengthwise and sliced into thin half moons
2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
Salt to taste, about 1 1/2 tsp.
Plain yogurt, for serving (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 400°.

2. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and toss, coating all the cauliflower evenly with oil and spices. Turn out onto a large sheet tray and roast until cauliflower is tender and well-browned, about 20 - 25 minutes. Serve as is or topped with plain yogurt and chopped cilantro.

1 comment:

veggie central said...

I hadn't read this blog till now and just yesterday made cauliflower that I had gotten at Rossman's and needed to be cooked. I made it with curry and red pepper flakes, sauteed in oil, then added onions, cauliflower and fresh tomato. Cooked on top of the stove, not roasted. I should have added some seeds as you did--would have perked up the flavor a bit. Also served with yogurt!