You know those recipes that you’d love to eat for dinner, but you feel the chances are slim on selling it to your family? That’s what I thought at first with this dish. Much to my surprise/shock/delight this cauliflower, cashew, pea and coconut curry is a new dinnertime favorite. Let me tell you, my crew is not an easy one.
First, there’s my husband. He’s devoted to animal protein, think Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, “There’s been a mistake. You’ve accidentally given me the food that my food eats.” Second, my kids can be annoyingly fickle. One only wants her veggies simply cooked and has trust issues with any sauce other than ketchup. My other daughter has a “self-diagnosed” allergy to all vegetables unless they’re raw. So making this vegan curry was a leap of stubborn faith.
Every-single-darn-one ate this with gusto. It’s so flavorful and delicious; this recipe belongs up in the ranks with my Thanksgiving Sage Stuffing — a category reserved only for the best of the best. I’m writing this at 6:00 am and craving another batch of it right this minute. Served with a big bowl of basmati rice, you’ve got a showstopper meal for family, friends and the vegans next door.
I found this curry dish in a new cookbook, Made in India by Merra Sodha (love her name). It’s a wonderful cookbook that has definitely upped my game with Indian cuisine. It’s easy to navigate and filled with beautiful, fresh recipes.
May this cauliflower comfort food find a warm reception at your dining room table, too.
Curried Cauliflower with Peas and Cashews
Recipe adapted from Made in India by Merra Sodha
Note: Make sure you taste the chili at the start to make sure it’s the right heat level for you and your family. In the winter the flavor is more mild, but if it’s to hot just strip the membrane and take out all the seeds.
1 3/4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 fresh green chili — serrano or jalapeño, roughly chopped (seeded if you prefer less heat)
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large head of cauliflower (around 1 1/4 pounds), broken
1 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk
4 ounces (about 3/4 cup) unsalted cashews
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons garden peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp garam masala (add at the end)
Small bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped
Wedge of lemon
Put the ginger, garlic, and green chili into a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt, bash everything to a paste and set aside. You can also use your food processor, but I like to pound it out.
Put three tablespoons of oil into a wide-bottomed, lidded frying pan on medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onions. Fry them for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden and just turning brown – you want to go past the usual translucent, going darker translates into amazing depth of flavor. Then, add the ginger, garlic and chili paste. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Next, add the tomato paste, ground coriander, cumin, and 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir to mix.
Add the cauliflower florets to the pan, coat in the spices and pour in the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer before putting the lid on, turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan on a medium heat. When it’s hot, fry the cashews for a minute on each side and tip onto a plate covered with a paper towel to cool. Don’t skip this step! The toasting adds a wonderful, well, toasty nuttiness.
When the cauliflower is tender, add the peas and garam masala, stir, then cook for 4 to 5 minutes more. Check the seasoning and adjust as needed. Sprinkle the cashews, cilantro, and give a squeeze of lemon over the top of the curry just before serving.
Serve with a big steaming bowl of basmati rice.