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- 1 small head cauliflower, washed and dried
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 dried red chilis
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil for cooking
- 2 tablespoons unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped (stems and all!)
- 1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 roma tomato, diced with the juices
- 1 Indian green chili, minced
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated coconut
- 1/4 wedge fresh lemon
- Pinch kosher salt
I’m going to be honest, there aren’t too many South Indian dishes that involve cauliflower. It’s mainly used in North Indian dishes like Aloo Gobi, Gobi Paratha and an Indo-Chinese dish called Gobi Manchurian. But I love cauliflower and we make a really yummy sautéed cauliflower dish at home that it so simple, yet full of dynamic flavor: florets sautéed with onions, turmeric, our family’s red chili masala, black mustard seeds and fresh coriander.
My Spice Rubbed Cauliflower Steaks combine a few elements from the dish I grew up eating at home, but of course with a Priyanka twist that is also low waste (no leaves left behind here!). It combines the hearty cauliflower cooked to perfection and topped with a crunchy gremolata and koshumbri. Normally served as a side complementary to meals, this Tomato Coconut Koshumbri adds the perfect level of freshness and sweetness to our spicy cauliflower steaks. You’re going to love it!
Technique tip: Washing and letting the cauliflower dry in advance will allow the marinade to stick better and really seep in.
Swap option: Green arbol chili peppers or serrano chilis can be substituted for Indian green chilis. Red chili powders vary in heat and color. Using an Indian red chili Powder is best for this dish.
Spice Blend: Using a mortar and pestle, add the coriander seeds, dried red chilis, black peppercorns, and kosher salt. Grind down until coarsely ground. Set aside.2.
Prepare the Cauliflower: Remove the leaves, but do not discard! We will be using them. Trim about ¼-inch of the end of the stem. Set the cauliflower upright on your cutting board and, using a large chef’s knife, cut the first steak by cutting into the head about 1 inch. The end pieces may slightly fall apart, which is fine. You should get 2 to 3 fully intact ‘steaks.’ Set those steaks flat on the cutting board.3.
Get rubbin': Drizzle all the cauliflower steaks with 1 tablespoon olive oil all over, front, back, top and bottom. Using your hands, rub the ground spices all over the steaks making sure to get into the nooks and crannies of the florets and all over. Using any remaining spice mixture on the board to rub onto the cauliflower leaves.4.
Get cooking: Set a large non-stick pan over medium-high flame. Add in 1 tablespoon of neutral oil. Once hot, add in the sliced onions and minced garlic. Reduce flame to medium and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until onions become translucent, have sweat out their moisture and the garlic is golden. Carefully place each steak into the pan, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook each side for 10 to 15 minutes, until charred and fork tender. While the steaks cook, add in the cauliflower leaves, allowing them to cook alongside the onions. Add in any small florets from the cutting board as well.5.
Gremolata and Koshumbri: In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the gremolata and set aside so all the flavors can seep in together. In another small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the koshumbri, except for the salt. Adding the salt early will let out all the moisture from the tomatoes and coconut, making the koshumbri too watery. Set aside.6.
Plate up: In a large serving platter or in your tiffin, lay down the charred cauliflower leaves and onion mixture first. Then carefully add the cauliflower steaks on top next to each other. Using a spoon, spoon some of the koshumbri across the cauliflower steaks and sprinkle a tiny pinch of kosher salt across the koshumbri. Finally top it off with the pistachio gremolata. Serve!