Received in the morning, extensively bookmarked in the evening and put into practice – with a successful result – the following day: this is my idea of a well-chosen and highly promising cookery book. This is not the case of the majority of my buys, so I was thrilled when the recipe I tested barely 24 hours after opening Made in India: Cooked in Britain. Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen by Meera Sodha proved fantastic. Simple, quick and perfect as a weekday side-dish, this roasted cauliflower is exactly what I had expected from this book.
As usually, I have changed the ratio of ingredients and also slightly the procedure, so, if you want to read the original, I encourage you to buy Made in India, a beautifully illustrated book full of luscious-looking, but relatively easy – or seeming literally effortless – home dishes.
TIPS: If you often cook Indian dishes, I advise buying a very cheap coffee grinder (that I wouldn’t advise for coffee, by the way…). Freshly ground spices make a big difference in the final aromatic and taste results. Using mortar every time might be off-putting, especially if we are in a hurry.
If you you like coconut aroma, use coconut oil instead of normal oil. This is what I did and it made a big difference.
The author suggests blanching cauliflower before baking, but, as a lazy cook, I preferred to bake the raw florets. It’s up to you to choose.
I served it with grilled chicken breast and a yoghurt-based sauce, but I guess this cauliflower will go with many dishes, not only Indian.
Preparation: 40 minutes – 1 hour, depending on how soft you want your cauliflower to be
Ingredients (serves three-four as a side dish):
1 big cauliflower
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 heaped teaspoon powdered turmeric
2 tablespoons medium hot chilli powder (or a mixture of very hot and mild)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or any other oil supporting high temperatures)
juice from one lemon (you can skip it if you don’t have lemons; even before the juice’s addition the cauliflower is irresistibly good)
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Roast the cumin seeds on a clean frying pan and grind them in a coffee/spice grinder or in a mortar. (You can of course buy powdered cumin, but this short roasting makes a big difference in taste).
Divide the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, cutting off the wider stalks.
Place the spices and the coconut oil in a big baking dish or tray (you should be able to spread the florets easily).
Put the cauliflower florets into the baking dish and dredge in the oil and spice mixture, using your hands (use gloves if you are afraid of turmeric stains on your fingers).
Bake for at least 30 minutes, turning once or twice.
I like my cauliflower very crunchy, so 30 minutes of baking was enough, but if you prefer it soft prepare yourself rather for fifty minutes – one hour.
Squeeze lemon juice over the cauliflower just before serving (if you have it).