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Tandoori Spiced Cauliflower + Giveaway

by Kristina Gill

I was never a huge fan of cauliflower until I read Lukas Volger’s cookbook, . I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t look for it at the market. Lukas’ book was the first time I had seen a recipe using cauliflower “couscous.” It made me think of the vegetable in a whole new way, and consequently I’m always on the lookout for new ways to try it. One of my favorite cookbook authors, Anjum Anand, has a recipe for Tandoori Cauliflower in her most recent cookbook, , which is all about Indian street food. The preparation for Anjum’s tandoori cauliflower is quick and easy, and the cooking is hands-off. It’s a beautiful dish for entertaining, or even during the week. If you would like an alternative to tomatoes and sour cream atop your cauliflower, Anjum notes that you can skip those and simply serve it with a more traditional mint chutney, if you prefer. —

To win a copy of Anjum’s I Love India, leave an answer in the comment section below. The question is: “What is your go-to appetizer for entertaining?”

Why Anjum loves this recipe: I have always enjoyed cauliflower cooked in every way imaginable, even grated, spiced and stuffed into breads. In recent years, in the West, cauliflower is finally receiving some much-deserved love after a decade of neglect. In India, it never went out of fashion and tandoori cauliflower is a restaurant staple. Tandoori dishes refer to foods baked in a coal-fuelled, super-hot, barrel-shaped clay oven which was traditionally used to bake breads, then meats and now vegetables. These ingredients are marinated in delicious spiced marinades and it is these flavors which now define tandoori food in the absence of a tandoor, which few of us have at home. This way of preparing cauliflower is such a super easy dish to make, I cook it really often!

About Anjum: is an award-winning cookbook author and television show host, based in London. She has written seven cookbooks on Indian food, and hosted two of her own shows, Anjum’s Spice Stories and Indian Food Made Easy. In 2011, she launched her own food line, , which includes cooking sauces, chutneys, and naans. You can find more of Anjum’s recipes on her own , and connect with her on .

{Cover and recipe photographs by }

I Love India by Anjum Anand

Street vendor photograph by

Tandoori Cauliflower photograph by Martin Poole

Tandoori Cauliflower, My Way

The tandoor oven cooks some of the most flavorful dishes in India, but is often skewed towards meat eaters. One of the few concessions to the large vegetarian population is tandoori cauliflower. I have to say, I love cauliflower, and this recipe gives it that extra edge. It is now a go-to appetizer for when I have friends round and don’t want to serve a lot of meat or fish. It doesn’t need a chutney or anything else. 

Serves 6–8

Ingredients

  • For the cauliflower:
  • 900g (2lb) cauliflower (around 1 small one)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chickpea (gram) flour
  • 60g (1/2 cup) cashew nuts
  • 3 small garlic cloves
  • 20g (1 1/2 tbsp) finely grated root ginger (peeled weight)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, more for the oven rack
  • 400g (1 3/4 cups) plain yogurt
  • 1/8–1/4 tsp chilli (chili) powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika, for color, if you like
  • 1 tsp carom seeds* (See note at end of recipe)
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • To Serve:
  • large handful of chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • 2 small tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 3/4 tsp chaat masala, or to taste
  • 1 small Indian green finger chilli (chile), finely chopped, or to taste
  • 200g (1 cup) crème fraîche

Preparation

1

Cut the cauliflower into large 7.5cm (3in) florets. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add 1 tsp salt and the cauliflower. When it returns to the boil, cook for 1 minute, then drain.

2

Dry-roast the chickpea flour in a frying pan, stirring very often, until it has darkened by a couple of shades and smells roasted. Take it off the heat.

3

Place the cashews, garlic, ginger, oil and half the yogurt in a measuring jug or blender and blend until smooth. Stir in the remaining yogurt, spices, a little more salt and the chickpea flour. It should taste good, so adjust the salt if necessary. Place in a large bowl, add the cauliflower and leave for 20 minutes or so, if you have some time.

4

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Line the base of the oven with foil, then oil an oven rack and place it in the middle of the oven. Once hot, place the cauliflower florets on the oiled rack and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until charred in areas and cooked through (the stalk should be tender when pierced with the point of a knife).

5

Meanwhile, mix together the coriander, tomatoes, chaat masala and chilli, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Spread the crème fraiche in a swirl over a serving platter. Spoon on just over half of the tomato mix. Place the cauliflower evenly over the crème fraîche, spoon over the rest of the tomato mix and serve.

 

*For information on substitutes for carom seeds, read .

 

Excerpted with permission from I Love India by Anjum Anand, published by Quadrille September 2017.

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