If you struggle to find something really “special” to serve to your vegetarian dinner guests, I would definitely suggest this show-stopping dish. Even for those that do eat meat, there is something so impressive about tandoori cauliflower that they will want to dig in too.
One of the secrets of the tandoori cauliflower is the marinade, which is based on yogurt. The yogurt helps bind the spices together, surrounds and coats the food, and the acidity naturally tenderizes whatever you are marinating. Yogurt is typically used in marinades for meat, but it works just as effectively with vegetables. If you do not eat goat or sheep yogurt, try a plant-based yogurt of your choice.
The mint chutney that accompanies the cauliflower is meant to be a refreshing compliment to the intense, spicy flavours of the tandoori blend. It is bright and crisp, and delicious with many things besides this particular dish. I enjoyed some of the mint chutney on top of steamed rice and quinoa, and even tossed it around with some chickpeas. Delicious! It’s a breeze to make and can be prepared a day ahead to save time.
Whole Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower with Mint Chutney
Ingredients 1 large head cauliflower, washed well, leaves removed
Ingredients 4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
1 Tbsp. tandoori spice blend
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. sea salt
½ cup / 120 ml thick yogurt (preferably goat or sheep - vegans use plant-based yogurt or coconut cream)
Directions 1. In a mortar and pestle (or food processor) smash garlic and ginger into a paste. Add the tandoori spice, lemon and salt and mix until uniform. Fold in the yogurt.
2. Place the whole of cauliflower in a large bowl and spread the marinade all over, making sure to coat the bottom as well. Place in the fridge to marinate for minimum 1 hour, maximum 12.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. On a lined baking sheet, place cauliflower and roast until tender (45-60 minutes depending on the size of the cauliflower). Garnish with cilantro leaves, lots of lemon juice and a generous drizzle of high-quality olive oil. Serve immediately with mint chutney. Enjoy.
Ingredients 2 cups loosely packed mint leaves
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 shallot, minced
½ red chili, minced (optional)
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup yogurt (vegans use plant-based yogurt or try coconut cream)
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
a couple pinches sea salt
1 tsp. raw honey
Directions 1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a chunky pesto-type of sauce results. Season to taste. Enjoy with all tandoori dishes, on top of rice or legumes, or as a spread on crackers or bread. Store leftovers in the fridge. Keeps for 5 days.
I hope this post inspires the spice lover in you to run to the nearest ethnic food shop or market to play and explore. I cannot tell you how much fun it is just spending just five minutes browsing for spices, and then taking them home to experiment with. If this seems daunting, start with just one or two spices, see how you like them and build your pantry from there. Whatever you do, don’t let your household be a flavour-free one!