I hated cauliflower as a kid. My mom forced me to eat broccoli and I tolerated it, and even grew to like it once I began cooking it as an adult. But I drew the line at cauliflower. I wouldn’t touch the stuff. As an adult, though, I tried it in curries at Indian buffets and realized that it wasn’t bad if treated properly.
So nowadays, I enjoy cauliflower in Indian food, and that’s still about it. I wish I could like the vegetable more, because I know it’s good for me. I just find it difficult to care.
This curry has a short ingredient list and is easy to make. Honestly, the most unusual ingredient to me is the cauliflower! I particularly like that I don’t have to have my ingredients ready before I start cooking. While I saute onions, I can blend the spices with the remaining onion. While the pureed onion cooks, I can chop up the cauliflower. And I can set my timer and go downstairs to bike for a short time while dinner finishes up.
Cauliflower Curry (adapted from Food and Wine)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 small jalapeno, thinly sliced, or about 1 tbsp dried diced jalapeno
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup water
1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used some thinly sliced stems, too!)
salt, to taste
1/2 cup diced tomato (1 tomato; mine came from a can)
2 tbsp cilantro (I didn’t have this around, but I think it would be tasty)
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add 1/2 the onion and all the jalapeno. Saute for 5 minutes, until onion begins to brown. (Mine didn’t brown. Oops.) Meanwhile, grind the coriander and cumin seeds in a food processor or blender; add the remaining onion and 1/4 cup water and puree. Once the onion is beginning to brown, add the onion puree. Use another 1/4 cup water to rinse your blender, and add onion water to the skillet. Cook until onion sauce begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, about 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, you can chop the cauliflower if you haven’t already.) Deglaze the pot with the remaining 1/2 cup water. Add the cauliflower and some salt, and toss with onion sauce to combine. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 30 minutes, until cauliflower is tender; I didn’t check on mine until the timer went off. (Definitely remove from heat at that point – you don’t want it mushy!) Add tomato and cilantro (if using) and toss gently to combine. Heat briefly to combine if necessary. Serve as a side dish, or over rice as a main course.
I’ve made it twice now, and it was tasty both times. The kitchen certainly smelled like cauliflower when I returned upstairs once the curry was done, but the vegetable wasn’t bitter. The curry was flavorful from the onion and the spices. The jalapeno flakes that I included added a little floral heat to the dish. The tomatoes were a nice addition – I would consider adding the whole can sometime, honestly. This is a simple, clean, uncomplicated curry that I think is best as a side dish, although I think you could turn it into a main meal if you wanted. If you want something different and unfussy to do with a head of cauliflower, give this a try.