24 Mar Roasted Cauliflower Curry
When we were working on the photograph for this recipe, forkful photographer Mark told me he’d had an interesting revelation around naan bread. He was picking up a take-away from his favourite local Indian restaurant and asked the guy behind the counter if he could have some extra naan bread. The guy smiled and said, in a friendly way, “You know ‘naan’ means ‘bread’, right? So you’ve just asked me for ‘bread bread’.” It was as if, after years of customers asking for ‘bread bread’ he finally cracked and corrected someone. They had a good laugh about it.
This cauliflower curry definitely calls for some ‘bread bread’ on the side. Alternatively, or even simultaneously, a bit of basmati rice would be a good accompaniment too. If I had to choose a carb to accompany my curry, I would always go for naan. The best quality shop-bought naan bread can be found in shops that specialise in Eastern spices and flavours. Try Spiceland in Dublin’s Portobello neighbourhood.
Personally, I’ve never attempted to make my own naan but it could be an enriching weekend baking project. You’ll find a useful video following a Madhur Jefrey recipe for homemade naan bread at http://bit.ly/madhurnaan, which makes it look as straightforward as any other yeast-based bread recipe. Definitely worth giving it a go when you have a bit of freetime on your hands, though it might make it hard to return to shop-bought naan afterwards.
To me, cauliflower is best when roasted in spices. It makes such a difference to this often mistreated vegetable. An important aspect of the success of this recipe is getting a really good quality curry powder. I like Green Saffron, a Cork-based company who have a great range of spice mixes. Find them on www.greensaffron.com.
Roasted Cauliflower Curry
Serves 2 with leftovers
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
For the cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of curry powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
For the curry
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 small white onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon of black mustard seeds
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 green chilli, seeds in, finely diced
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 fresh lime
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200c/180c/gas mark 6. Chop the cauliflower head into florets. Use the stalk as well rather than throwing them away. Place them in a roasting dish and drizzle with vegetable oil. Sprinkle evenly with the curry powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they’re golden and tender.
2. Meanwhile, make your curry sauce. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the onions and cook gently for about five minutes until starting to turn translucent. Add the mustard seeds and cook for another couple of minutes. Now add the garlic and chilli, cooking for a few more minutes, until the garlic smells lovely but isn’t burning.
3. Add the curry powder and the ginger powder to the onions. Stir well and fry for a minute. Now add the tomato paste mixing well until you have a paste. Fry for another minute. Now add the tins of tomatoes and season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit.
4. When your cauliflower is roasted and your sauce has thickened, add the cauliflower to the sauce. Serve with some natural yogurt, fresh coriander, lime and ‘bread bread’ on the side.
Storecupboard Essential: Indian Chutney
I’ve already given Cork-based company Green Saffron’s spice mixes a shout out but their Mango Chutney is also a fantastic storecupboard treat. A great Indian pickle or chutney can help cool down (or spice up) a curry experience. Buy Green Saffron’s chutney online at www.greensaffron.com where you’ll also find a list of nationwide stockists.
This recipe first appeared in The Irish Independent on Thursday 23rd March 2017