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Browned Spiced Cauliflower 
Extract taken from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cookery by Madhur Jaffrey (Bloomsbury, £20 Hardback) Illustration © Emma Dibben
November 2023
Reading time 2 Minutes

Here, cauliflower florets are browned in a very heavy frying or sauté pan until they turn deep blackish-brown in spots

Then the heat is eased and the cauliflower showered with ginger, a few spices and lime juice. The florets stay a bit crunchy. It is delicious. I often serve it with tomato rice and minced meat with peas. You could also serve it with a roast chicken.
  • 3 tbsp peanut, olive or other vegetable oil
  • 870g cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and cut into fine, smallish julienne strips
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 115ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder, or cayenne pepper
  • ½–1 fresh, hot green chilli, such as bird’s eye, cut into very fine rounds (optional)
  • 2 tsp lime juice, or to taste
  • Generous handful of fresh
  • Green coriander leaves

The cauliflower head I bought weighed about 870g. The florets should be cut so they are 5–6cm long and 4–5cm across. Each should have an elegant head and a stalk. If washed, they should be dried off thoroughly and then left to air-dry some more. They should not hit the oil with any drops of water on them.

Put the oil in a very heavy, large frying pan, sauté pan or wok and set over a medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cauliflower. Stir and fry for eight to 10 minutes, reducing the heat just a little if needed, until all the pieces are covered with dark brown-black spots.

Add the ginger and stir a few times. Add the cumin seeds and stir a few times. Quickly pour in the measured water, cover and bring to a simmer. After two minutes, lift the cover and add the salt, lots of black pepper, the chilli powder, the fresh green chilli, if you like their heat, and the lime juice. Stir gently to mix and adjust the seasonings as desired.

Shower with the fresh green coriander and mix, just before serving.

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