Thank goodness it’s Meatless Monday! After an indulgent wedding weekend of glorious proportions, I am in need of some vegetable vitamins. Let’s make one of my favourite vegetarian dishes, The Spicy Cauliflower ‘Steak’. It’s hearty, delicious and offers a spicy Indian kick to help me sweat out the ridiculous amounts of bourbon I enjoyed this past weekend.
This recipe is from the cookbook Vij’s at Home: Relax Honey by Vancouver super-Chef-couple Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij. In the book Meeru tells the story of how she came up with the recipe and served it with Vikram’s preferred fork and steak knife, in an attempt to replace his dinner’s meat staple with little complaint. It clearly worked because this dish has been a popular order from their Rangoli menu ever since.
Mind games played with the steak and potato lovers of the world is certainly something I can relate with. This recipe is successfully filling served with a side green salad or a bed of buttery basmati rice but, of course, if you’re up against a real meat-loving challenge, pair it with a lamb and/or beef kabob. Enjoy!
Spicy Cauliflower ‘Steak’
Recipe adapted from Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey by Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij
Serves 6 to 8 depending on the size of the cauliflower.
- 1 head cauliflower, outside stalks cut off
- 1 /2 cup (125 mL) cooking oil
- 1-1 /2 cups (375 mL) puréed or crushed canned tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped ginger
- 1-1 /2 tsp (7.5 mL) salt
- 1 tsp (5 mL) turmeric
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground coriander
- 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cayenne pepper
- 10 cloves (optional)
- 3-inch (7.6-cm) cinnamon stick (optional)
Cut cauliflower, as you would a pie, into six pieces if it’s a smaller head and eight pieces if it’s a larger one. Wash and carefully place large cauliflower pieces in a colander to drain.
Combine oil and tomatoes in a large wide pot on medium-high heat. (Since the pot is large, you may need to turn it on to high if your stove burner is small.) Add ginger, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cloves, and cinnamon, stir well and sauté for three to four minutes, or until oil glistens from tomatoes.
Reduce the heat to low while you mix in cauliflower. Carefully place each large piece of cauliflower into the pot and gently stir so that the tomato masala covers all the pieces. If necessary, use a large spoon to ladle tomato masala into the nooks and crannies of the cauliflower pieces.
Increase the heat to medium, cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through. When you stir, if you notice that the cauliflower isn’t cooking, increase the heat. If it’s sticking to the bottom of the pot, decrease the heat. Pierce one of the larger pieces with a knife to see if it is soft (not mushy). If necessary, cook cauliflower, covered, for another one to two minutes. (If florets have broken apart because they overcooked, don’t worry; this dish is still delicious.)
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