Make Ahead

"Smoked" cauliflower with cumin, pepper, and cilantro

October  5, 2010
5 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

In this dish of Indian (ish) origin, the fragrance of whole spices sizzled in oil and butter permeate cauliflower florets as they are slowly roasted stovetop. The simplicity of the ingredients belie a slightly tricky technique involving sizzling spices, but attention to timing is well worth the effort! The dish tastes like so much more than the sum of its parts because of the amazing flavor that the smoking/charring process adds to the cauliflower! —sarah_wallace

What You'll Need
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 3/4 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 3/4 tablespoon whole cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • a squeeze of lemon
  • salt to taste
  1. Break the cauliflower into medium-size florets.
  2. Heat a largish, lidded saute pan, and then add oil and butter till smoking.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium, and add in the whole cumin and peppercorns, stirring. The spices will sizzle and be immediately fragrant, but keep stirring them until the cumin seeds have darkened, but not so long that they burn, about 30-45 seconds. At the end of this time, the oil should be fragrant and start to smoke a bit.
  4. Immediately add in the cauliflower florets and firmly yet carefully fold in the florets into the spices and oil. Each floret should be slicked with oil and studded with a few peppercorns and cumin seeds. Salt to taste.
  5. Tightly cover the pan, turn the heat down to medium low, and let the cauliflower cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every so often.
  6. At the 20 minute mark, stir in the chopped cilantro, and continue to let cook, covered, for another 5-7 minutes.
  7. The dish is done when the cauliflower gently yields to pressure while still remaining toothsome, and has a few roasted edges.
  8. Pile the cauliflower, toasted whole spices and all, onto a serving platter and enliven with a squeeze of lemon juice. This dish is delicious hot, room temperature, or cold.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Midge
  • sarah_wallace

2 Reviews

Midge October 8, 2010
Sounds great!
sarah_wallace October 8, 2010
Thanks Midge. Typically, homemade clarified butter would be the fat of choice, but a mixture of oil and butter works well too!