This whole roast cauliflower is the most impressive vegetarian centrepiece. The golden baked cauliflower globes have the perfect texture; not too mushy and not too crunchy. The coconut milk, cashews and saffron give the dish a sensational, deep, earthy flavour.
1 small cauliflower (about 600g)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon melted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Good pinch of saffron threads
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 red chilli (medium strength),
1 teaspoon sugar
1 x 400ml tin full-fat coconut milk
Handful of toasted cashews
Handful of fresh coriander leaves
Salt, to taste
Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower and trim the base so that the cauliflower can stand upright. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the turmeric, mixing well to create a deep yellow-coloured broth. Place the cauliflower upside down into the turmeric water and boil for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and allow the cauliflower to steam dry for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan), gas mark 6.
Whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, garlic, ginger, saffron, cumin seeds, paprika, black mustard seeds, sliced chilli and sugar in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the cauliflower, rubbing it into all the cracks and crevices. Sprinkle salt over the cauliflower.
Pour the coconut milk into the base of a small roasting tin (about 20cm square) and place the cauliflower on top. Roast for about 30 minutes, basting the cauliflower with the coconut milk after 15 minutes. The surface of the cauliflower should be charred and deep golden, with a thick coconut milk sauce at the bottom of the tin. If it hasn’t reduced down, transfer the juices to a saucepan and reduce down to form a sauce-like consistency. Sprinkle over the toasted cashews and coriander and serve immediately, either as the centrepiece dish or as part of a spread.
Recipe extracted from Khazana by Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, published by Hodder & Stoughton, £25
Photography credit: Kristin Perers