You know I love a good cauliflower, and I love the new vogue for cooking them whole. I ate of lot of them in Israel, but they are also great Indian staples. Here is a delicious recipe from the royal kitchens of Uttar Pradesh via Meera Sodha. It makes for a grand vegetarian or vegan dinner party centrepiece. I served it with some plain rice and my chard and potato curry recipe, plus a green salad. Everything from the famers market of course! Pudding was baked rhubarb and cardamom pears.
1 large head of cauliflower
salt and pepper
2 large onions
4 cm ginger, peeled and grated
6 cloves of garlic, finley chopped
2 x 400 g tins of tomatoes
40 g ground almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp methi leaves (fenugreek) – optional as hard to find
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground chilli powder, and/or a couple of whole dried chillis
handful of flaked almonds
handful of fresh coriander leaves
Preheat oven to 180C. Remove the tough outer leaves but leave the tender ones on the cauli – why waste them? Slice the bottom off it so it sits flat. Rub with the rapeseed oil and salt and pepper. Place in a lidded casserole, le creuset is the best, and roast for 45 minutes.
Add some more oil to a frying pan, add the onions and cook for 10 minutes until soft and golden. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the tomatoes and mix well (I use the chopped ones as it makes for a better sauce). Then fill the empty can 3/4 full of water and add to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the almonds, cinnamon, fenugreek leaves, cloves, chilli powder and 1 tsp salt. Cook for 5 more minutes and take off the heat.
After 45 minutes test the cauliflower with a skewer. It should be almost cooked but not soft. Cook little longer if a little too firm. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and return to the oven; cook uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes. Toast the almond flakes in a dry pan for a couple of minutes and set aside.
Check the cauliflower is cooked with the skewer, should be tender but firm. Take from the oven, check seasoning and chilli and adjust. Scatter with almonds and coriander.
The sauce cooking.