This is a recipe by Anna Jones which I was intrigued by as I had never baked a whole cauliflower before. I was not disappointed, it is truly delicious and really makes a vegetable the star of the show. To quote Anna, “this is my favourite way to eat cauliflower, the sweet note of coconut milk, the punch of ginger and green chilli, earthiness from mustard seeds and the clean, spiced note of turmeric are soaked up by the vegetable”. Enjoy!
2 large cauliflowers
4 tbsp coconut oil
A thumb-sized piece of ginger
4 green chillies
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
Salt and black pepper
400ml tin of coconut milk
1 lemon, halved
Thick Greek or coconut yoghurt
Almond flakes, toasted
Small bunch of coriander, leaves picked
1 Set the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Boil the kettle. Cut the large leaves and stalks away from the cauliflower. Leave the little ones close to the florets – they will go nice and crisp when roasted. Turn the cauliflowers upside down. Using a small paring knife, carefully cut hollows in the stalks, so they cook evenly. Take a saucepan big enough to hold both cauliflowers, otherwise do them one at a time. Half fill the pan with water from the kettle, then bring to the boil. Add salt, then immerse the cauliflowers and simmer for 6 minutes. Drain. Put the lid back on. Let the cauliflower steam in the residual heat for a further 10 minutes.
2 Take an ovenproof dish or pan (that can go on the hob and in the oven) large enough to take the cauliflowers, with just enough room for you to get a spoon in to baste. Spoon in the coconut oil, and grate the ginger into the oil. Finely chop the chillies, discarding the seeds if you wish, then add to the pan. Peel, crush and add the garlic, then put the pan over a moderate heat and let the spices and aromatics cook for a few minutes, until fragrant. Stir in the mustard seeds. Cook until the garlic has softened, then add the turmeric and a big pinch of salt.
3 Pour the coconut milk into the spice mixture, stir well and season with a little ground black pepper. When it starts to bubble gently, turn off the heat, put the drained cauliflower in the dish, then baste it with the coconut-spice mixture. Throw the lemon halves into the side of the dish too.
4 Bake the cauliflower, basting now and then with the spiced sauce in the roasting tin, for 40-45 minutes. You want it to catch a little on top. To test if the cauliflower is cooked, insert a small sharp knife into the middle: it should be really tender. Once it’s perfect, take it out and squeeze over the roasted lemons. Serve in the middle of the table with spoonfuls of yoghurt, almonds and coirainder for sprinkling on top of your plate.