Let’s Cook! Manchurian Cauliflower
February 20, 2013
I realized that even though I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen, it’s been quite a while since we’ve cooked together, so I thought I’d share one of my absolutely favorite recipes: Roasted Manchurian Cauliflower.
Dedicated Readers will be aware of my affinity for Chef Suvir Saran (and of course his food!).
I’ve shared several of his recipes here on the blog (see the end of this post for links), and this is yet another one and it comes from his most recent book, the James Beard Award nominated Masala Farm.
This is one of those great recipes that makes a hearty, flavorful veggie entree, or can be a great side as well… so without further ado, Let’s Cook!
3 Tbl Canola Oil
3 Whole Green Cardamom Pods
3 Dried Red Chiles (more or less to taste…)
1 Tbl Coriander Seeds
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
1 Head Cauliflower, cored and broken/cut into florets
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
For the sauce:
2 Tbl Canola Oil
1/2 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
8 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 1/2 Cups Catsup
1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper (more or less to taste)
1/4 Tsp Kosher Salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a 9″ x 11″ baking dish with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil (or spray with cooking spray).
Grind the cardamom, chiles, coriander seeds. cumin seeds and peppercorns in a spice/coffee grinder until fine (okay, I often cheat on this and just use some packaged Garam Masala and/or Chat Masala, don’t tell Suvir…).
Mix the spices with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and put that mixture, the cauliflower and salt in a large bowl and stir to coat the florets in the spiced oil.
Put the cauliflower into the greased dish and stick that puppy in the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes (you may want to stir about half way through).
Now make the sauce…
Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil with the black pepper in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat until the pepper is fragrant, about a minute. Add the garlic and stir constantly for another minute until it smells good.
Add the catsup and cook another couple of minutes, stirring often.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the salt and cayenne. Cook until the sauce becomes darker red and thickens, stirring often, about 6 to 8 minutes. I will often add a splash of fish sauce for a bit extra oomph… no it won’t taste like fish… okay, it’s for that now-almost-over-used-word umami…
After the cauliflower has roasted 20 minutes, remove from the oven and stir in the sauce.
Return to the oven and cook another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring two or three times, until the cauliflower is tender.
You can add other veggies to the cauliflower while roasting as desired – I usually add chunks of red onion and often sweet peppers (as you can see in the picture above) – carrots or parsnips would be nice as well. Top with some chopped cilantro if you like.
Serve the dish with rice, and if you want to have a vegetarian meal you can add a simple green veggie on the side (like roasted broccoli, which you can do in the oven at the same time as the cauliflower). This would also make a great side to a simple roasted chicken or other protein.
This is truly one of my favorite dishes, and one that I crave often – give it a try and let us know how you like it!
Here’s some other recipes from Suvir that are on the blog: Fried Chicken Masala (amazing!); Simple Roasted Cauliflower; Coconut Rice; Grandma Hayes’s Corn Bread (THE cornbread! Trust me!); Delicious Dal.
As always, I’m headed back to the kitchen… see you soon!