By now you all know about my love/hate relationship with vegetables. I know I should eat them, but like a child I really don’t want to do so. Therefore, it is necessary to be inventive and sneaky even with myself to get me excited. Adding lots of flavor through seasoning like spices, ginger and the marvelous combination of spices and herbs to be found in curry (curry is not a spice – it is a combination of spices), and adding extra texture like pinoli or pine nuts, and the sweetness of yellow currants can make this dish quite pleasing.
The inspiration for this dish, you’ll be surprised to know, comes not from my Jamaican tradition, nor even the more obvious Indian culinary tradition, but from Sicily. Curry was not used but rather egg yolks that are beaten and quickly added to the cauliflower as it is sautéed in the pan, changing the color to an astonishing yellow. It is a family recipe from a cousin with Sicilian roots and eaten during the Christmas season. I decided to add the curry as I felt it needed a boost, and where there is curry, ginger doesn’t fall too far behind. Also because of the Sicilian roots I immediately thought you need the pine nuts and the yellow currants. I removed the eggs, because does anyone need the extra protein, and the curry brings that fabulous astonishing yellow. I switched the parsley with the mint/cilantro, and used coconut oil instead of olive oil, because we are talking curry.
These days I make my own combination of curry – also because curry is always best when freshly made. I remember my own mother going through a phase of making her own. I am about to buy my first mortar and pestle but can’t decide whether in marble (more Italian) or wood with metal (more Caribbean) and actually grind my spices and herbs. What would you prefer? For now I buy the best powdered spices I can find and mix.
Preparation: 30 minutes
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup coconut oil
1 medium garlic clove, diced
2 scallion, diced
½ cup mint and cilantro, cut finely
¼ cup pinoli or pinenuts
¼ cup golden currants
2 Tbsp. Curry*
3 inches of ginger, peeled and grated
salt and pepper to taste
hot pepper flakes to taste and if desired
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and then add the cauliflower florets. Allow to boil for exactly 5 minutes, stirring to make sure all the pieces are in the water, as they like to float. Drain immediately and set aside. Don’t overcook.
In a large skillet with a cover combine the olive oil, garlic, and scallion. Sauté for a few minutes.
Add the pinoli, golden currants, curry and sauté for a minute. At this point add the cooked cauliflower stirring quickly, squeezing a little of the ginger juice over the vegetable. The cauliflower will take on the color of the curry. Add half of the mint/cilantro and stir, saving the rest for the end to sprinkle on top before serving. Season to taste. Cover and let simmer for a few minutes. Turn off the flame and if not serving immediately, reheat later.
Before serving, squeeze the rest of the ginger juice and sprinkle the remaining herbs, stir quickly.
I use Jamaican curry, preferably hot, but you could add hot pepper flakes. I love the combination of spices used in the Jamaican curry. We have hot or mild and do not have varying blends for fish, vegetable or meat as is part of the Indian culinary tradition.
If you don’t wish to boil, even briefly, the cauliflower I find that roasting them with a little coconut oil for 10 minutes at 350°F adds a little more flavor.