Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cauliflower baked in Tomato Sauce

I buying cook books, and I've also a particular weakness for a good reference book. When I saw Elizabeth Schneider's Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: the essential reference at work a while ago, my heart did flip flops. It has 133 detailed entries on the less common veggies (and mushrooms) with great photos, information on history, storage, preparation and cooking. I'm not convinced that all of the recipes are winners - but even the less appetising ones make clear how to approach something new. Now that I'm a happy owner of it, I'm attempting to not be intimidated by its size and make friends with it. I has turned out to be a really good guide to the wackier things at the markets. I've learnt that kohlrabi is really yummy raw and sublime grated, and fried with thinly sliced bacon. And I found this gorgeous way of cooking cauliflower, a perfect accompaniment to some rice and dahl (not that cauliflower is unusual in my books). Make lots as it is even better cold the next day.

Cauliflower baked in Tomato Sauce

1 tbs coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 inch knob of ginger, grated
1 medium onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp of chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 medium-large cauliflower

Coriander, yoghurt and rice to serve

Set oven to 200 degrees C. Gently heat coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in a saucepan until fragrant, then finely grind.

Heat oil in a saucepan, add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic, ginger, spice mixture, turmeric, chili (if using), sugar and salt. Cook for a minute or two, then add tomato juice and simmer for 5 minutes.

Trim cauliflower, cutting close to the curd. Spread the cauliflower out in a 2 quart baking dish. Cover completely with sauce. Cover and bake until tender - 30-35 minutes. Then remove top and allow to brown.


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