Spicy Paste Makes Cauliflower a Delicious Main Dish

19 December 2021

Cauliflower is a vegetable that can be fixed in many tasty ways. You can cut it in big pieces and cook it over a fire as if it is meat. You can cook it until it is soft and crush it up, or mash it, just like a potato. You can even turn the white vegetable into a stretchy material that you can flatten and cook like a pizza.

From Greece to Israel to China, cooks from around the world are creative with cauliflower.

Roasting is cooking something for a long time. Cauliflower is delicious when it is prepared this way with a spicy mixture spread all over the vegetable. The mixture, or paste, creates a flavorful surface that browns and gets hard as it cooks. But the rest of the cauliflower softens.

Farmer pack cauliflower after harvesting them from a field on the outskirts of Jammu, India, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Farmer pack cauliflower after harvesting them from a field on the outskirts of Jammu, India, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)

The recipe for this meal is found in "COOKish," a book by chef Christopher Kimball. The book limits itself to recipes of just six ingredients without any sacrifices of flavor.

Kimball says the roasted cauliflower recipe is based on the flavor of gobi Manchurian, an Indo-Chinese dish. The widely popular food is known for its saucy quality and its salty and sweet spiciness.

The spices used in the paste include the Indian spice blend garam masala, Chinese chili-garlic sauce and simple ketchup. The liquid reduces as the ketchup is heated, which deepens its tomato-based sweetness. The sugars in the ketchup work with the heat to brown the food.

When the cooking is complete, the cauliflower is cut into large pieces. Cut up some green onion into small pieces and throw some on top of each piece. It adds a nice, fresh edge to the already complex flavor of the roasted cauliflower.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Chili-Garlic Roasted Whole Cauliflower

Start to finish: 1 hour 10 minutes (10 minutes active)

Servings: 4

2-pound head cauliflower, trimmed

¼ cup neutral oil

2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon garam masala

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat the oven to 425°F. Place the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet. Mix the oil, chili-garlic sauce, ketchup, garam masala and 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Brush half the mixture onto the cauliflower, then roast until deeply browned and a skewer inserted into the center meets just a little resistance, 40 to 55 minutes. Brush on the remaining mixture and roast for another 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and sprinkle with scallions.

Chris Kimball wrote this story for the Associated Press. Caty Weaver adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

chef - n. a professional cook who usually is in charge of a kitchen in a restaurant

ingredient - n. one of the things that are used to make a food, product, etc.

saucy - adj. served with a sauce, a thick flavorful liquid

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