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  • Recipe Room  »  Cauliflower roasted with panch phoran and fresh tumeric



    • 1 cauliflower, trimmed
    • 120 ml ghee (see ingredients)
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 4 tablespoons panch phoran
    • 1 tablespoon salt flakes
    • 1 long green chilli, sliced, seeds and all
    • 1 small bunch coriander, leaves picked
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • preserved lime pilaf or jackfruit biryani, to serve (optional)

    Cauliflower roasted with panch phoran and fresh tumeric

    Whenever I visualise cauliflower, I always think of my vegie patch on a frosty winter morning after overnight rain with the cauliflowers nestling in their leaves like they’re tucked up in blankets, and a drop or two of rainwater gleaming on their flowery tops. I was never a kid who hated vegies, but I did think that boiled cauliflower smelt a bit like old socks (and overcooking it pushed that smell to somewhere nearer rotten eggs). I’ve since learnt that the trick is to leave the cauliflower a little undercooked or to roast it. As a young chef, I was a little reluctant to do the latter because I thought it made the florets look a bit sad and wilted, but my appreciation for messy-looking things has grown with the years (old dogs, dented cars, beaten pots and pans . . . ) and I now think roast cauliflower looks rather compelling.

    Panch phoran is my choice of spice for this. It’s essentially a blend of fennel, fenugreek and cumin seeds and sometimes wild celery or mustard seeds, but absolutely always nigella seeds. I always think it smells slightly medicinal. I especially love the combination of the fennel seeds with the cauliflower. This, along with the slight bitterness of the fenugreek and the way the turmeric stains the cauliflower a vibrant yellow, makes the dish another favourite of mine.


    Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced (220°C conventional). Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Working from the stem end up, cut each quarter into florets about 4 cm wide at the top with a trailing stem. The stem is the best bit so do not trim it all off.

    Heat the ghee in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the turmeric and panch phoran and fry until a few seeds crackle ever so slightly. Do not allow the panch phoran to get too hot as the fenugreek will become very bitter. Add the salt to the pan and stir to combine. Transfer the spice mix to a large bowl.

    Add the cauliflower to the bowl and toss to coat with the spice mix, adding a little more ghee if the cauliflower is not properly coated, and pressing the seeds onto the florets. Transfer the cauliflower to a roasting tin.

    Roast the cauliflower for about 25 minutes or until it’s tender; a few burnt tips are nothing to worry about. When you are ready to serve, toss the roast cauliflower with the chilli, coriander and lemon juice. This works really well served with preserved lime pilaf or jackfruit biryani.

    This recipe was provided to Foodwise from the book “Simon Bryant’s Vegies” by Simon Bryant with photography by Alan Benson, published by Lantern rrp $39.99.

    Submitted by
    Simon Bryant

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