Some Like It Hot

Can you believe that Thanksgiving here in the U.S. is only a week away! How did that happen? I swear we were just setting the kids off to school after summer break only yesterday. Well, even though I am nowhere near ready for the holidays, I am ready to welcome them. I’ve been feeling very holiday-ish for weeks now. Perhaps its the unseasonably cool temperatures we’ve been having? Burr!

But before I can turn my attention to holiday cooking, I figured I had better post some of our Indian recipes I’ve been mentioning. India was my choice for our cooking around the world adventure. I’ve been participating in lifestyle and teacher training program at my yoga studio since August, and one of our recent adventures was to spend an afternoon with the wife of one of our instructors learning how to cook home-style Indian cuisine. It was the perfect fit for our blog!
Cauliflower

We learned how to make dosas, curried cauliflower and a delicious chickpea stew. The instruction was hands-on and our teacher was very informative and helpful. She brought her most used equipment from home, her pressure cooker and spice tin. She said that the traditional gift for a new Indian bride is a pressure cooker – she couldn’t get by without hers. And her spice tin was a circular container (it reminded me of a Christmas cookie tin my grandmother used to have) with individual compartments for her most used spices. It was such a clever container and a far site more organized than my crazy spice drawer (which is now over-flowing with spices and herbs from around the world).

My favorite recipe from the day was the curried cauliflower, which I’m sharing with you today. It’s simple. It’s healthy. It brings the heat! But I think the best part about it was learning how to prepare my own curry. I had no idea that curry powder is a spice blend. I always figured it was its own spice, when in fact it is a blend of spices that was said to have been created by an Indian cook for a British soldier who was returning to England and wanted to take the flavors of India home with him. Our instructor prepared her curry with cumin, cayenne, coriander and turmeric which is the version I plan to share today.
cutting cauliflower

Mr. N joined me in the kitchen to make the cauliflower. He had a sample from my class and was eager to learn how to make it. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s fast and easy, so perfect for Mr. N to learn how to make for himself (with oven supervision of course). We started by cleaning the cauliflower and then slicing it into quarters. The trick to slicing it is to make a deep cross-cut into the stem of the head and then pull the quarters apart. This makes it easy to break the cauliflower into bite size florets.
cauliflower florets

After rinsing the cauliflower clean, we added it to a Ziplock bag. Mr. N then measured out and added a bit of olive oil and our spices to the bag.
curry spice mix

After giving the bag a good shake to coat the cauliflower, we then placed it onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roasted the cauliflower at 450F for 15 to 20 minutes.
shake and bake

While the cauliflower was baking, Mike and Miss A called us out to the yard where they had been raking up leaves. They just had to share their amazing find…a rather large praying mantis!
praying mantis

The kids were just enthralled (as was I). She was a real beauty. She sat perfectly still, well all but her eyes were still. Her eyes tracked our every movement. You can see how the praying mantis makes such a great hunter! Had she been on a plant, we likely never would have noticed her. praying mantis close-up

Back in the kitchen the cauliflower had finished roasting, so Mr. N and I returned to the kitchen to get a first taste of our healthy snack. We had toned down the cayenne and increased the cumin from my instructor’s version and were hopeful that it would be as good. We still wanted it hot – just not need-a-fire-extinguisher-hot. oven roasted cauliflower

The verdict – we have a winner! This dish might hold a special place in my heart – it’s a vegetable, which I have never really been partial to, in fact, I typically can’t stand cauliflower – and I love this recipe! I could hardly stop snacking on these little gems. Mr. N too, he kept coming back for more, and then a few more. And how fun that it’s a snack we don’t have to worry about overeating! curry cauliflower

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but it earned 4 spoons from both Mr. N and I – a vegetable nonetheless! Mike also enjoyed the cauliflower. This ranked at a 3 spoon vote for him. Surprisingly, the heat was a bit too much for him (the man that literally douses things in srichacha). oven roasted curried cauliflower

And I’m guessing that you can imagine Miss A’s reaction. Yes, this was a 1 spoon dish for her. She did take a few bites offered by her brother, but after several moments she went charging to the sink to pour water into her mouth. A bit of an over-reaction? Perhaps. Drama does tend to run in the family. ;)
our budding actor

Print this recipe: Oven Roasted Curried Cauliflower

Long story short, if you like it hot, give this one a try. It’s a fast, healthy recipe that makes a great side dish or snack. Just ask Mr. N, he’s requested this as part of his weekly school lunches. cauliflower curried

All-in-all, I’d say our first Indian cooking adventure was a success. We’ll have one more Indian dish to share after Thanksgiving as well. Until then, I hope you all enjoy the holiday. As we count our blessings for the Thanksgiving holiday, all of our wonderful readers, commenters, friends and family will make the list. Like this recipe, you all hold a special place in our hearts. Cheers!

42 comments on “Some Like It Hot

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Physically my stomach can’t handle spice but it doesn’t mean that I don’t like spicy food…often I really wish I can handle it so I get to enjoy all kinds of dishes! My Indian friend loves using cauliflower in curry and other dishes and I enjoyed it very much. From the first bite of cauliflower I have been a huge fan. My kids are okay with it too. I’m tempted to try this. Just worry about spice tolerance. Maybe building up slowly might be a good idea. :)

  2. oh my gosh! I am soooooooo pumped about this cauliflower! Like pumped as in giddy bc my sons’ love cauliflower, hubs not so much, and always trying to do different hings with it but go figure never tried this way before. I might not make it as “spicy” but by golly i will be making this!!!!

  3. What a fantastic experience you’ve had. My friend’s dad once cooked a dish for us and showed me how he carries his spices in a container as well. He went through everything so carefully, but I admit, it’s so difficult to understand quantities and such when making your own curry. I’ve also heard some people’s combination is a close guarded secret! I’ve never used a pressure cooker and wonder what she uses hers for? Finally, this is a recipe so many people would love.. I’ve seen roasted cauliflower before.. but never like this with these seasonings and eaten as a snack! I love that!

  4. I absolutely can’t wait to give this one a try Kristy. It looks fantastic and I also love the idea of a 100% healthy snack that we can dig into. I think I may have to make this one tonight! I hope all is well with your lovely family and that your Thanksgiving was a happy and peaceful one.

  5. The Belmont Rooster says:

    Great post!

  6. Raymund says:

    Hot food is addictive, the more you eat them the hotter you want them that is why sometimes for me fire extinguisher hot solves my cravings.

  7. Charles says:

    Hrrrrm, cauliflower, my arch-nemesis. I tell you, I absolutely *love* it when it’s pickled, and can eat it all day when it’s raw, but as soon as it goes near an oven or pan it just becomes… I don’t know… “not good to my palate”. I’ve tried it in all manner of different cooking methods but alas even roasted I wasn’t too smitten by.

    My wife loves it, so I guess I could make it for her, and I agree – it’s wonderful that you found a snack that you don’t need to worry about overeating… you can’t get much better than cauliflower!

    Loved your description of Miss A’s reaction :D. Hope you’re all well!

    • Kristy says:

      Oh she’s had some good reactions lately Charles – think up-turned plate. ;) Poor little thing is just tuckered from school and in no mood for unfamiliar food. It’s funny that you don’t like roasted cauliflower. It’s really the only way I can eat cauliflower. That said, I’ve never had it pickled, so I’ll have to give that a try. No raw cauliflower for me though. I wonder if William would like it if you toned down the heat. The cumin might make it a winner for him. :)

  8. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Heeheeh, drama tends to run in the family… never a dull moment, right? I want to join your yoga group! What a nice experience learning about Indian cuisine and this recipe sounds simple, flavourful and just perfect for fall. I like the idea of that spice tin too… wonder where we could get that. I am ready to welcome American Thanksgiving as well but will not be making another turkey (sorry boys!) — happy to respect the holiday but did bird duty in October ;-). Next stop, Christmas.

    p.s. gorgeous shots of the praying mantis — neato!

  9. Karen says:

    I love roasted cauliflower and this Indian version sounds wonderful. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    Ya gotta love Miss A’s reaction! And the Academy Award goes to …
    How fantastic that you received lessons for cooking authentic Indian dishes! Like you, cauliflower was my least favorite vegetable. Then I started roasting it and fell in love. This recipe sounds like it would be right up my alley, Kristy, and I’ll be sure to give it a try. I may cut the heat a little more, though.
    A couple years ago, I noticed one of the branches on a rose wasn’t doing well. I leaned in for a look-see and saw that it was infested with aphids. I watched them, trying to remember the “green” recipe for aphid removal when, no more than 3 inches from my nose, my eyes focused on a large preying mantis that had been there all the while staring at me. It was such a shock — I’d been there for a few minutes — that I almost fell over backwards. Once I recovered my composure, checking to make sure no one had witnessed my “bravery”, I decided to do nothing and let Nature do its thing. Sure enough, that mantis cleaned the plant before going to parts unknown. And I’ve never leaned in for a closer look until I’ve first performed a preying mantis check on the surrounding limbs. :)

    • Kristy says:

      It is amazing how well they disguise themselves. My dad had some in his lavender bushes over the summer. I never would have seen them if he hadn’t pointed them out. Then when we went to show the kids, it took us another five minutes to find them again. :)

  11. spicegirlfla says:

    I just learned two new tips! First, the cutting of the bottom of the cauliflower to release the stems and the ziplock to mix the cauliflower in!! No messy hands – as I usually use my hands! This looks really good, I like it hot and I’m sure I will love this!!

  12. chef mimi says:

    Curry and cauliflower go so well together! I love that your kids are in the kitchen with you!

  13. May says:

    Oh wonderful – I have a cauliflower in the fridge and have earmarked it to be curried in some way or other… and now I have a fabulous idea using this recipe as a launchpad. Thank you :)

  14. Norma Chang says:

    Mr. N sure is a serious cook, such concentration. How wonderful that you have a recipe that he loves eating, is healthy and he can make on his own.

  15. lulu says:

    No, I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost here and that Christmas is not far behind. I’m always looking for new ways to prepare cauliflower and I like the spiciness of your recipe.

  16. Eva Taylor says:

    Any milk protein will quell a burned mouth from spice heat, like yogurt or even a glass of milk. Water actually will make it worse!

  17. Eva Taylor says:

    Hi Kristy. I can say that I would LOVE this! We roasted cauliflower in Yorkville on Sunday night and the three of us (those who were in the kitchen) couldn’t stop eating it. It was so delicious, I can only imagine how delightful the curry spice on it would be. I bet it would be amazing if you puréed it with stock and served it as soup!
    That Praying Mantis is very cool. We found one at my Aunt’s cottage when I was about 8 (the first and last one I’ve ever seen in reality) that was injured. It sat on the porch for about a week. My Mom found it and fed it bacon bits from the end if a wooden spoon. When it healed it left, or that’s what my Mom said. Pretty amazing creature. Thanks for sharing, it brought back an amazing memory.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  18. I can’t wait to try this recipe at home. I love Indian food and cauliflower too, so this is perfect for me. Thanks for sharing!

  19. What a fantastic way to serve cauliflower Kristy! I love it as does my husband so this will definitely make it onto our menu. :-) Mandy xo

  20. Dawn says:

    Looks amazing!!! Just like in India :)

  21. hotlyspiced says:

    You managed to get some great shots of the preying mantis. I love the look of your curried cauliflower. This is a great vegetarian dish and I’m sure I’d love it – and very good for you too. Great that your kids loved it because getting that age group to eat their vegetables isn’t always easy! xx

  22. I love this recipe, Kristy! I’m quite excited to try it. I love the spices and I’m a big cauliflower enthusiast, so the combo really delights me. I’m so excited for you in the classes you’re taking and hope they lead you into even greater involvement in teaching and educating others. I have only been practicing yoga about 7 years and really wish the practice had been a significant part of my life much, much earlier! Good for you! And I’ll always be eager for anything you can share about that…and wonderful Indian recipes. :-) Mr. N has matured over the summer–I can see it. ox

  23. The Vegan 8 says:

    I’ve never been a fan of cauliflower either, but I am a huge fan of curry!! So, I think I would love this recipe. I enjoyed reading the story of your family’s reactions. :)

  24. I have only made pan fried version of this. Baking makes it a whole lot healthier. Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  25. Munchy says:

    I love cauliflower!! It’s called ‘gobi’ in India and Pakistan (where I’m from) and there is so much you can do with it! It’s my second favourite vegetable after eggplant. And hahaha, I’ve always found the fear of spice fire so amusing. I started eating spices at six month old (willingly stuffing my hand in to a chuttni while my mother looked on horrified) and it was love at first bite. I definitely like it hot :D

    My son’s a drama queen too! He loves being dramatic… but I think he gets it from his Mom… I love how active your children are in the kitchen but since Eesa is only three the only thing I’m willing to trust him with is mixing cake batter.

    Thank you for the post! They are always lovely and give such a good start to my day!

    • Kristy says:

      Thank you so much Munchy! Your comment put such a smile on my face and is so sweet. Miss A was 2-1/2 when we started the blog. If you don’t mind the messes, it’s amazing what the little hands can be good at. To this day, Miss A can knead bread better than I ever will be able to. :) And I absolutely love that you were eating spices at such a young age! That’s awesome. :)

  26. A_Boleyn says:

    Drama can be fun, in moderation.

    As can spices and veggies. Not being much of a cauliflower eater but enjoying a bit of spice the recipe is definitely appealing. I enjoy a lot of Indian dishes and even cook them on occasion. :)

    http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/tag/indian

  27. sallybr says:

    Oh, please please please, do post sometime the chickpea stew, will you? I am addicted to a chickpea stew from an Indian restaurant in Oklahoma and here where we live now there are NO Indian restaurants… I want so badly to reproduce that dish…

    Drama runs in your family? I am shocked. I thought I was the Drama Queen!

    Drama as in my performance a couple of days ago when a huge wolf spider showed up in the shower when I was covered in soap and shampoo… ask Phil about drama…. ;-)

    • A_Boleyn says:

      If Kristy doesn’t post her chickpea curry recipe, I make a pretty good one though I use a prepared chickpea spice mix (chana masala) to get that sour tang which you can replicate with some amchoor (dried green mango) powder and your favourite garam masala. Otherwise, it’s a really easy dish to cook and adjust spices til you get the taste you’re looking for.

      http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/82972.html

    • Kristy says:

      Hi Sally! I’ll email you the chickpea stew recipe. I didn’t take as good of notes on it as the cauliflower, so I’m not sure I can recreate it exactly. It should give you a good base to go from though. I’ll make sure to send it along this week. I will have another chickpea post for you before the end of the year though. We’ve already made it three times! And I can imagine the drama when the spider was in the shower. I’m certain a similar drama has been performed here once or twice. ;) (and not by the kids!)

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