Spiced Cauliflower

10 Oct

spiced cauliflower

I think my priorities might be a little skewed. When I was packing for Buenos Aires, I made an effort to get my possessions down to a bare minimum, to pack only what I really needed. But I decided that, along with a basic wardrobe, laptop computer, and camera, what I really needed to bring along was as many spices as possible. I’d heard that some were hard to find, and I didn’t want to deal with the start-up cost of buying new spices (plus they’re light!). Some people made fun of me for the decision, but when I picked up a head of cauliflower and saw this recipe, I knew I’d made the right decision. For many of the main ingredients, it was just a matter of reaching into my already well-stocked cabinet, and the resulting dish is spicy and immensely flavorful, reminiscent of (though I’m sure not authentic) Indian food. And not only did it taste great hot out of the pan, it was equally tasty eaten cold the next day.

Spiced Cauliflower (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
Yield: 2 – 4 servings


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1″ piece + 1/2″ piece ginger, minced
  • 4 dried red chiles
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 – 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste


  1. In a large sautee pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat, then add 1 tsp cumin seeds, and cook until they begin to crackle, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add 1 onion, thinly sliced, and sautee until translucent and starting to caramelize, about 10 – 15 minutes.
  3. Add 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1″ piece ginger, minced, 4 dried red chiles, 2 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted, and 1/2 tsp turmeric, and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add 1 head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets, and stir well to combine.
  5. Pour in 1/2 cup water, lower heat, and cover. Cook over medium-low heat until the cauliflower is just tender, about 5 – 10 minutes (this will depend on the size of your florets).
  6. Remove the lid, and add 1/2″ piece ginger, minced and 1 – 2 jalapeno peppers, minced, and continue to cook until the liquid has mostly cooked off, about 1 – 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, and add salt, to taste.

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