Indian Roasted Cauliflower

indian_cauliflReceived 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).


22 Replies to “Indian Roasted Cauliflower”

    1. Thank you, A_Boleyn. The only way I don’t like cauliflower too much is when it’s very soft (=overcooked for me). Unfortunately it’s the way most people cook it… I love it raw too!

  1. I have put the book on my wishlist, since it is almost gift giving time. Thank you for the review.

    1. THank you, Toffeeapple. I hope you will like it too. A small warning: if you want to find the list of regular Indian restaurant dishes, it’s not the right book to buy; this one has a very individual homely feel, so I found it an interesting change from from Rick Stein’s India (it’s still my favourite though!) and Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cookery (I don’t advise as a gift, unless you are sure the person doesn’t mind the lack of photographs).

      1. Thank you Sissi, that is the very reason that I want to read it, any number of books deal with the usual restaurant meals. Most of which, here in England, are not Indian at all but Bangladeshi, a different cuisine altogether.

        1. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do (in the meantime I made three more dishes from this book and all were really good!).

  2. Ooh, yes, love the tip for using coconut oil in this warming Indian dish. Don’t you just love when things turn out well? Sounds like you had the ideal experience with your new cookbook — I love when I cookbook has me devouring its pages, like you, and I find myself bookmarking with passion; it’s such a satisfying feeling too when the recipe evolves as you had hoped. I can see by the spicing how delicious these roasted bites would be and I’m all in on the squeeze of lemon too – I find citrus adds the perfect note of contrast to warm dishes like this. Lovely Sissi.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. It’s so rare to find a cookery book one uses frequently… I’m already happy if I cook three dishes from one! This one has been already used three times but in one week, so I’m certain the buy was a good decision.

  3. You can’t go wrong with roasted spiced cauliflower the Indian way. It’s one of our favorites too and it goes well with fish dishes. I am going to check out that famous book you mentioned, thanks for sharing Sissi!

    1. Thank you, Hélène. It’s so easy… but so complex and good. The book is very original with its family meals and a practical touch. I really like it.

  4. Your cauliflower looks perfect Sissi, we absolutely adore the warm Indian spices with cauliflower. I have wanted to bake a cauliflower whole and serve it like a roast to be carved at the table, I think your recipe would work with modified baking times.

    1. Thank you, Eva. This dish is really fantastic. Do you remember my whole baked cauliflower post? (Inspired by Shu Han’s recipe). I make it all the time and finish cold in salads or as a snack (I just brush it with chilli oil).

  5. I am not a big fan of cauliflowers but if it is prepared the way you did it, yes I will definitely eat it. That bowl of cauliflowers look very appetizing. Thank you and I hope you are having a beautiful week, Sissi! 🙂

  6. WOW – this is right up my alley! I don’t cook much Indian at home, but I do have all of the Indian spices. Go figure. 🙂 Love the 2 Tbsp. of chile powder!!!! And the coconut oil sounds like a really good choice here. Beautiful looking cauliflower Sissi! I’ll have to check out that book and BTW – I love to see how you are constantly changing up recipes for the better. Bobby always fusses as]t me because I find it impossible to make a recipe as is. I’ve tried, but…. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. The great advantage of Indian dishes is that most of the seasoning can be stored for quite a long time (unlike Thai cuisine for example). I see we are both serial recipe modifiers 😉 I think it’s extremely rare to see me making a recipe (even for the first time) exactly like it’s written. (Apart from pastry, but even there I cut down sugar amounts at least).

    1. Thank you so much, Katerina. I think it’ll be my favourite cauliflower dish (just after the one baked whole and brushed with chilli oil).

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