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Image / Living / Food & Drink

Supper Club: Spiced whole roasted cauliflower


By Sarah Finnan
18th Sep 2023
Supper Club: Spiced whole roasted cauliflower

Sunil Ghai, the chef behind Pickle restaurant in Dublin, shares his take on spiced, roasted cauliflower.

When I was young, I had a friend whose family owned a farm and we used to buy produce directly from them. If I went back to his farm with him after school, I’d pick mooli (a type of large white radish) straight from the ground, wash it and eat it raw. We bought our cauliflower from his farm, which I would bring back home on my bicycle.

Cauliflower is a highly underrated vegetable and I never saw it being served in any Indian restaurants in Ireland 20 years ago, only yellow lentils, chickpeas, potatoes and sometimes cabbage. But it needs to be cooked properly, with some crunch still left – if you overcook it and it becomes too soft, it loses all its flavour. You can serve this as a main course or it makes a fantastic kebab.

Spiced whole roasted cauliflower (a.k.a. Gobhi Musallam)
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of baby cauliflower or 1 large head
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • melted butter to baste
  • 1 lemon wedge to finish
  • pinch of garam masala to finish
  • mint and coriander chutney to serve

 For the yoghurt coating:

  • 80g thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

Method

  1. Measure out your spices into three separate small bowls: one bowl for the cloves, star anise, turmeric and salt for boiling the cauliflower; one for the turmeric, paprika, cloves and salt for the yoghurt coating; and one for the garam masala to finish.
  2. Prep and measure out all the remaining ingredients before you start cooking so that everything is ready to go and the spices don’t burn. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. Line a baking tray with foil.
  4. Put the cauliflower in a medium saucepan with 1 litre water and the cloves, star anise, turmeric and salt. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for anywhere from 5–10 minutes, until the tip of a sharp knife can pierce through the centre of the cauliflower without too much resistance, but don’t let it get too soft or it won’t hold its shape well when you roast it. Drain well.
  5. Mix all the ingredients for the yoghurt coating together in a large bowl. Add the drained cauliflower and cover it all over in a thick layer of the yoghurt.
  6. Place on a baking tray and roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then remove and baste all over with the melted butter. Return to the oven and roast for about 10 minutes more, until nicely charred. 
  7. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving plate and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of garam masala on top. 
  8. Serve with mint and coriander chutney on the side.

 

Spice Box by Sunil Ghai is published by Penguin Sandycove (2023). Photography: © Joanne Murphy.