Cooking veggie dishes over the flame is a fantastic way of getting incredible flavour and texture. Our coal baked cauliflower curry recipe is 100% vegan – as we’re firm believers that we should all be a bit more conscious effort to be consuming less meat (or at least, consuming more sustainably sourced wild meat such as wild game).
This recipe involves coal baking an entire cauliflower in the coals, accompanied by a butter chicken style sauce.
1 whole cauliflower, all leaves intact (a good farm shop will stock untrimmed ones)
Drizzle of rapeseed oil
1 onion, finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 knob of ginger, finely chopped
700ml bottle passata
1⁄2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1⁄2 tsp ground coriander
1 tin of coconut milk
1 tsp garam masala
For the crispy chilli and garlic topping:
1 red chilli
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
Check the cauliflower for any dirt, giving it a little rinse if you need to.
Shake away any excess water and dry off the exterior.
Place the cauliflower directly into the coals.
Allow the cauliflower to cook for 10 – 15 minutes on each side, turning regularly. It should char nicely, which is absolutely fine.
Cook the cauliflower until it’s completely tender. To check, pierce the cauliflower with a sharp knife.Don’t forget the base as this will take the longest due to the thick core of the cauliflower.
Whilst the cauliflower is coal baking, you can get started with Step Two, making the curry sauce and the optional Step Three, making the crispy garlic and onion topping.
Place a heavy based saucepan on a medium heat. Drizzle in a couple of tablespoons of rapeseed oil.
Gently sauté the onions until soft, then stir in the garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or two before adding the spices.
Mix the spices through the onion mix until well combined.
Cook the spices for a couple of minutes. This will really bring out the flavour and aromas of all the spices.
Pour in the passata, along with the coconut milk and bring the pan to a rapid boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until it becomes thick and glossy, coating the back of the spoon.
The sauce at this point is ready (but left for 24 hours the flavour will really develop – leftovers are brilliant!).
Once the cauliflower is ready, remove from the fire and let it cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, remove all the more charred leaves that were protecting the cauliflower from the heat.
Find your finest bowl or platter and place the cauliflower in pride of place dead centre. Pour the butter sauce all over the cauliflower making sure it’s completely covered.
(This next element is just a quick little garnish to really finish the dish off – this step is optional).
Nothing beats the warming flavour of toasted garlic, which we’ve paired with some chillies to add a little crunch to the cauliflower.
Place your skillet over a medium heat to warm up.
Whilst the skillet warms, slice the chilli and garlic as finely as possible. This chill garnish packs quite a lot of heat if you’d like it milder then you can remove the seeds and white pith from the chilli. If you’d rather omit the chilli then we would suggest that you replace it with a couple of shallots (also finely sliced).
Drizzle in 2-3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil into your pan, if it shimmers you know that it’s hot enough to cook in.
Carefully sprinkle the chilli and garlic into the pan. If it’s quite lively, move the pan away from the heat source to
calm it down a little. You want the chilli and garlic to toast and crisp nice and gently.
Once the chillies and garlic are nice and crisp, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan and place on a
plate lined with kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil which will help them to crisp up even more.
Scatter over the crispy garlic and chilli at the very last minute to retain all that crunch.
Take the platter to the table along with the rice and let everyone dig in.
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You can and we encourage you to eat cauliflower leaves, as everyone always tears them off and throws them away. They are incredible roasted, the edges go beautifully crisp and the centre stays lovely and tender. The leaves also serve a purpose – they will protect the cauliflower from becoming too charred and create a nice steamy environment for the cauliflower to cook through.
For this coal baked cauliflower recipe, don’t forget that cooking times will very much vary depending on the size of your cauliflower.
The butter style curry sauce would also be fantastic with any other coal-baked veggies, paneer, fish or meat.
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