Roast curry-spiced cauliflower

By Pauline Hubner

January 27, 2018

Cauliflower and spices always pair well. Here a fragrant curry paste is rubbed all over a whole cauliflower, which is then roasted until tender.

  • Yields: 4 servings


1 medium cauliflower

3tbsp curry paste (either homemade - see below - or your favourite ready-made one)

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Sea salt and black pepper

Curry Paste

2 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 tbsp ground turmeric

10 finely grated garlic cloves

2 tbsp finely grated ginger

2 tbsp tomato purée

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp fine salt

1 tsp sugar


1- Preheat the oven to 200°C (Fan 180°C)

2- Tear off two long sheets of foil - each long enough to go around the cauliflower with plenty of overlap. Place one of these in a roasting tin, with the ends overhanging the edges of the tin. Lay the second piece of foil on top, at right angles so the ends of that piece hang over the other two sides of the tin.

3- Take the outermost leaves off the cauliflower but leave half a dozen or so of the inner leaves still attached.

4- Stand the cauliflower in the middle of the foil. Take a dollop of curry paste at a time and rub it all over the surface, over the leaves, and into any nooks and crannies around the base of the stalk. There should be no white bits of cauliflower visible.

5- Fold up the edges of the foil slightly. Trickle the rapeseed oil all over the cauliflower, then pour 75ml water onto the foil around the base (not over the cauliflower), making sure it doesn't escape into the tin. Bring the foil up around the cauliflower, leaving some space inside - don't wrap it tightly. Crimp the edges together firmly, creating a secure but baggy parcel.

6- Transfer to the oven and roast for 1 hour.

7- Unwrap the cauliflower and test it by pressing a small, sharp knife in through the base; it should go in without too much resistance. If it is still very firm, put it back in the oven for 10–15 minutes and test again.

8- When the cauliflower is tender, cut it into chunky pieces and divide between warmed plates. Spoon any spicy juices from the foil parcel over the cauliflower and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

9Serve scattered with fresh parsley or coriander, and with dhal, rice or other grain-based dish.


Curry paste

1- Put the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan and toast briefly over a medium heat, tossing a few times, until fragrant. Watch constantly so that they don't burn. Let cool.

2- Using a pestle and mortar, pound the cooled toasted spices with the dried chilli flakes to a coarse powder (give it some welly - to break up the seeds as much as you can). At this point your kitchen will smell AMAZING.

3- Add the ground turmeric, grated garlic, grated ginger, tomato purée, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Stir well and your paste is ready. Use straight away or store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for longer.

If you're cooking for less than 4 people, I reckon you could use the same paste on cauliflower slices (or steaks, if you must refer to them as such *rolls eyes*). Cold cauliflower leftovers aren't great, although I expect you could reheat by simply packaging up again in the foil and sticking back in the oven for 20 minutes or so. Recipe from 'River Cottage: Much More Veg' by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, p95.


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