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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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Comments

  • My go-to appetizer is baked crab Rangoons.

    I’ve never been a big cauliflower fan until recently, we’re trying to eat less meat, and some of my favorite new recipes call for it.

  • this sounds amazing! My go-to for entertaining vegetarians (there are many in my life) is cucumber slices on top of small toasts from the store, with vegan cream cheese spread on top and sprinkled with fresh black pepper.

  • This looks delicious! My go-to appetizer for entertaining is charcuterie and pickles but it’s getting a little boring. I can’t wait to try this.

  • I really don’t entertain, but cook healthy meals for myself. As an appetizer I might have a bowl of homemade vegetable soup or a plate of fruit and cheese.

  • I like to do stuffed mushrooms. I stuff them with sausage and then sprinkle parmesan cheese and garlic on. Then. I broil them until cooked. It’s always a crowd pleaser! I love cauliflower fixed a variety of ways and with different spices. Roasting cauliflower the best! I’d love to try this recipe and others in the cookbook.

  • Yum!! I love both cauliflower and Indian food so this is a must try for me!
    My go to is a red pepper and chickpea hummus with lots of garlic.
    Thanks for sharing, I’m looking forward to trying this. :)

  • My go to is roasted red pepper, feta and brasil nut dip. Blend in cuisinart with small amount of garic, chili and olive oil. Serve with tortilla chips, pita or baguette.

  • My go to app is a baked bree served with fancy ‘crisp’ crackers. So easy, can be savory or more sweet, but always delicious, and always a crowd pleaser.

  • My go-to appetizer is baked brie. I love the oozing cheese from a sweet jammy topping served with thin slices of baguette.

  • My usual appetizer is some sort of fish and pasta combination. I recently did a pasta salad with baked salmon & olives. I’m getting lots of new ideas for apps here. ☺

  • I like each gathering to feel a little different, so I don’t have a regular appetizer that I make. However, I don’t think you can go wrong with fancy cheeses, yogurt, spiced nuts and homemade crackers or old-school crudites and dips if you’re pressed for time. For me, it’s all about the time of day, season, and the mood of the event.

  • My go-to appetizer is always LUMPIA! Always a hit no matter what! Served with some sweet chili sauce or ketchup on the side and you’re good to go!

  • What an amazing recipe– looks so good! My go-to appetizer is a charcuterie and cheese plate with homemade pickled beets, garlic scapes, and Hungarian wax peppers.

  • my go-to? Crinkled potato chips and parmesan cubes, maybe roasted herb nuts and cornichons if I’m feeling fancy! I LOVE LOVE LOVE cauliflowers, so I MUST try this! Thank you:)

  • I often just put out a meat and cheese plate, but if I want an actual ‘appetizer’ my go-to is prosciutto-wrapped asparagus. Easy to eat with fingers, and can be served cold/room temp, so we can keep eating them all night long!

  • In the summer I love to serve open faced tomato sandwiches topped with micro-greens and a sprinkle of red chilli flakes. This cauliflower recipe and book look amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  • We don’t entertain often, but when we do my go-to appetizer is wee bocconcini skewers with grape or cherry tomatoes and basil. Just something little so the guests don’t spoil their appetite!

  • I make a cheese plate, it’s so easy to provide items for a variety of tastes and style it in a way that really impresses people!

  • This looks good! Pinning it … my go-to appetizer is probably guacamole (depending on the dinner plan) — it’s so tasty and usually a hit with just about everyone!

  • My favorite indulgent appetizer is baked brie – preferably wrapped in puff pastry with nuts and fruit inside

  • This sounds delicious! I will have to try it. My go to appetizer is spinach balls. They are sooo good and simple. I have made them and had many people who do not like spinach down several of them. Its basically spinach, stuffing, cheese and egg backed into balls. So good.

  • My go-to appetizer is always a cheese, crackers, and fruit plate because it’s easy and fast and requires minimal prep as I get the main dishes ready.

  • Yikes! I don’t have a go-to appetizer! I am perhaps the world’s worst entertainer though – appetizers, water and silverware (yes, even silverware) are things I never remember to offer guests.
    Luckily, my friends know me well enough to make themselves at home, set & serve themselves.
    And they usually bring whatever their favorite cheese is at the moment, because they know I usually have homemade sourdough bread on hand.
    So…I play it off like these & sourdough bread are TOTALLY my go-to apps.
    Right!?

  • This looks so good! Could you just put a rack over a cookie sheet for faster clean-up? My go-to appetizer is English cucumber slices with smoked salmon, creme fraiche, and sprig of dill or chives. It’s fast and looks elegant.

  • I grew up in the mid-west where we had deviled eggs at almost every get together. My go to is a new twist – garam masala and mango chutney deviled eggs. Always a hit!

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