Bengali Spiced Cauliflower: sauteed with the Bengali flavors of turmeric and nigella and topped with citrus and fresh herbs.
There are those weeks where coming up with something new to cook is just too…overwhelming. It usually happens on those occasions where I just don’t feel like anything and can’t bring myself to resort to boring, nondescript standbys. The weather has been wonky this week so far; too warm for something rib-sticking and comforting, but too cool for the salads that have sustained me all the summer long. My 20 cookbooks offer little inspiration, so I dig into the archives to see what, if anything, seems appetizing enough to rework.
And now we have Bengali spiced cauliflower, a vegetarian reincarnation of the Bengali Prawns.
I’m not sure what drew me back to this particular recipe, but I remember that it was quite good and damn did my memory serve me well. It’s really so simply flavored: nigella seeds, turmeric, lime and herbs at its core, but those flavors enough to bring this cauliflower to life, both in color and flair.
I actually ate mine warmed atop a salad (no dressing necessary!), but this will do with with some rice or potatoes, or even baked into a frittata. It left me also hankering to remake the prawns, and wondering what else I could do with such simple and lovely flavors.
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cored and coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 TB nigella seeds (if you can’t find these, perhaps use cumin seeds)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 green onions, sliced and trimmed
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 lime, juiced
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped for garnish (parsley would work if you hate on cilantro)
- 1/4 cup water or stock (plus more to boil the cauliflower)
- Rice, to serve
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 TB olive oil
- Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower and blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain and pour cool water over it. Set aside.
- In a large saute pan, add the oil and let it heat up. Add the jalapeño and the cauliflower and sauté until the pepper is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the spices and the green onions and give it a stir. Add the water and cover the pan, and cook until the cauliflower is soft, about 10 minutes. Uncover, add the lime juice and peas and cook until the peas heat through and the water evaporates completely. Toss with cilantro and serve.
Written after I finished all the ice cream (and was really sad about it).