Friday, January 07, 2011

Oven-roasted tandoori cauliflower

I don’t particularly like ready-made curry pastes, so I very rarely buy them and even more rarely use them. But recently, when we had guests over for dinner, my husband bought a small bottle of mild tandoori paste to make a side-dish of oven-roasted tandoori turkey chunks, with leftover turkey. (It was a hit, incidentally.)

However, there was still a half-bottle of paste left. I didn’t really know what to do with the paste – Perhaps make something else for Pete with it? ... but he didn’t really fancy that. Throw it away? ... but I didn’t really want to do that. Make something for myself with it? ... hmm, maybe, but what?

For a couple of days the bottle sat in the fridge while I debated what to do with its contents. I knew that if I didn’t decide to make SOMEthing with it soon, the question would become moot as it would have to be dumped - like it or not – because the use-by time of the opened jar was three days.

I even considered praying for a miracle from heaven, specifically from the god in charge of the Food Wastage (Prevention & Control) Department. I was all set to do so, but then the thought struck me that merely hoping for a miracle could be considered as good as a prayer, given that the hope was in a good cause i.e, non-wastage of food.

Still, Food Wastage (Prevention) Dept gods presumably follow the example set by their Big Boss in helping only those who help themselves - so I didn’t give up racking my brains for some idea of what to make, even while awaiting the miracle. For the umpteenth time I opened the fridge door, hoping for a) inspiration, or b) a miracle... but no, the jar hadn't helpfully and miraculously disappeared, it was still there on the shelf along with its contents.

Disappointed, I was about to shut the door again when I noticed some decaying leaves in the vegetable section and suddenly realised that they belonged to a head of cauliflower I had bought a few days ago. (I often have a cauliflower slowly withering in the fridge, although it is always bought with the virtuous intention of using it “to make something healthy” – a perverse virtue and intention, if anything, because I’m not crazy about cauliflower. So why do I buy it, you ask? Because I like the virtuous feeling I get when I decide to cook a vegetable I don’t like very much.) Anyway... aha! Inspiration had arrived and it looked very much like a cauliflower.


(I wasn't particularly surprised that the miracle hadn't happened - I probably didn't believe in it enough. Please let's not confuse the issue by suggesting that the inspiration WAS the miracle! Let's be very clear that they are two separate and very different things. Inspiration = my work. Miracle = godly work in the form of disappearing half-bottle of tandoori paste. Which didn't happen.)

So that's what I made - oven-roasted tandoori cauliflower. I didn't parboil the cauliflower (although I should have) because it felt like too much work. I just trimmed the hard stem underneath and cut the head into quarters (again, I should have broken them into florets, but laziness struck again). Then I spread the tandoori paste over the quarters and made a foil packet in which to steam-cook the pieces in the oven. It took blinkin' AGES before the cauliflower pieces were even part-cooked, so I would definitely recommend parboiling the cauliflower. The recipe below reflects this rather than the method I followed.

Oh, and the baby brussels sprouts you see in the photo? They have nothing to do with the recipe so feel free to ignore them. There were fewer than a dozen and I threw them in with the cauliflower because I didn't want to save them for another occasion.

Recipe for: Oven roasted tandoori cauliflower

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Ingredients:

1 medium cauliflower
4-5 tbsp tandoori paste (readymade)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp oil
2-3 slices of lime or lemon

Method:

1. Cut the cauliflower into large florets.
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2. Dunk the florets in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until they are partly cooked. Then drain and pat dry. Mix the oil and tandoori paste together, then smear the paste evenly over the florets.
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At this point you can let them marinate for an hour or so, before baking.

3. Place the cauliflower florets on a tray covered with foil which has been greased with oil or sprayed with a non-stick spray.
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Bake the florets at 200C for 15-20 minutes, carefully turning them over after 10 minutes or so. The florets should be cooked and beginning to lightly char, but not so soft that they fall apart when touched.
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4. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon over.

RECIPE: OVEN ROASTED TANDOORI CAULIFLOWER
Ingredients:

1 medium cauliflower
4-5 tbsp tandoori paste/marinade (readymade)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp oil
2-3 slices of lime or lemon

Method:

1. Cut the cauliflower into large florets.
2. Dunk the florets in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, or until they are partly cooked. Then drain and pat dry. Mix the oil and tandoori paste together, then smear the paste evenly over the florets. At this point you can let them marinate for an hour or so, before baking.
3. Place the cauliflower florets on a tray covered with foil which has been greased with oil or sprayed with a non-stick spray. Bake the florets at 200C for 15-20 minutes, carefully turning them over after 10 minutes or so. The florets should be cooked and beginning to lightly char, but not so soft that they fall apart when touched.
4. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon over.

3 comments:

simply.food said...

You have given the boring cauliflower a nice spicy twist.

Rev said...

Hey Shyamala,

this recipe is really wonderful & deserves a try.

The ready to eat cauliflower pic makes me drooool :)

http://www.relishdelish.blogspot.com

Shammi said...

Thanks, Simply.Food and Rev! :)