Cauliflower is a member of the brassica family of vegetables, which also counts brussel sprouts and broccoli among its members. I don’t know about you, but I was not a big fan of these vegetables growing up, didn’t eat them all that often and definitely didn’t crave them the way I do now. However, they now form a really important part of my diet.
Brassica vegetables are a good source of fibre and contain essential vitamins and minerals. They also contain things known as phytochemicals, in other words plant chemicals. These phytochemicals are believed to be very good for our health and to even have cancer fighting properties. For me, I don’t need to hear anymore. I now try to eat cauliflower and cabbage at least once a week each, broccoli at least twice a week, and kale at least four times a week but usually I eat more of all three each week. I don’t boil any of these vegetables, instead I lightly steam them, roast or bake them or even better eat or juice them raw.
Of all the brassica vegetables, cauliflower is by far my favourite. I am in a total habit of roasting it in extra virgin olive oil with chilli, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. Today’s recipe is a little different. The inspiration for this dish comes from Dylan McGrath’s Rustic Stone restaurant in Dublin. I had lunch there last week and ordered a side of ‘crunchy cauliflower colombo florets with coconut and cauliflower puree’, which is described as curried florets deep fried in bran oil with its own puree cooked in coconut milk. It tasted really good and my favourite thing about the dish was pairing cauliflower with coconut milk. I have made curries before with both of these ingredients so the combination is not new to me. However, I really wanted to make the coconut milk and cauliflower the stars of the show. The end result of much to'ing and fro'ing is this Coconut & Lime Baked Curried Cauliflower and I have to say, I am a little in love with this dish.
As an aside, Rustic Stone is great for anyone who eats a ‘restrictive’ diet (inverted commas for restricted as while most call my diet restrictive, I really don’t feel that way at all). I really loved the choice of healthy dishes and they tasted fresh and very tasty.
1 head of cauliflower
1 cup of coconut milk
Juice of one lime
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
Sea salt and black pepper to season.
1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and place in a baking dish.
2. Spoon the coconut milk on top, trying to evenly distribute it over the florets. Squeeze the lime juice over the florets, again trying to evenly distribute it.
3. Sprinkle the spices, salt and pepper evenly over the cauliflower.
4. Toss the cauliflower in the coconut milk, lime juice and spices to ensure each floret is well coated.
5. Place in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 5 / 190 degrees celsius for 30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browed on top.