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Jack Monroe’s Cauliflower Pasanda

Pan of roast cauliflower florets and other green veg on a black plate.
Image by J M Dodds

This has become one of my all time favourite recipes, I can’t count how many times I’ve made it since reading Jack Monroe’s article in The Guardian back in September 2014. It’s also surprisingly popular with the boys (Oliver 9, William 6). They’re coming down to stay at the end of August, this will most definitely be on the menu.

From the article:

Over the past few years, I’ve hosted regular all-you-can-eat charity curry nights at my place. It is based on the home restaurant concept – people pay a set price, turn up, I cook huge bowls of curry and the money goes to neighbourhood charities, such as our local food bank and homeless shelter. This was one of the most popular dishes I ever made. You can pan-fry the cauliflower, but roasting it brings out a deep, earthy flavour that’s just too good to miss, so make the time.

Cauliflower Pasanda (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • Oil for cooking (I use groundnut)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 large onions or leeks, finely sliced
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 300ml natural yoghurt
  • 300ml double cream
  • Fistful of fresh coriander
  • A handful of sultanas
  • Chopped almonds (optional)

Preparation

  1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark four.
  2. Get your thumbs into the middle of your cauliflower and prise it apart. It falls into florets, looks better, makes less mess and is faster than chopping.
  3. Put the pieces in a roasting tin, splash with oil, scatter with ginger and turmeric, and roast in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes, until slightly crispy and browned around the edges.
  4. Put the onions and garlic into a large pan with another splash of oil. Add the chilli, cumin seeds and garam masala, and cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the onions from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  6. Stir through the yoghurt and cream, season, and let it all luxuriate in the pan until the cauliflower is ready – adding dairy when the mix has cooled avoids splitting and curdling.
  7. When the cauliflower is roasted, fold it through the curry pan – the turmeric should give it all a gentle, creamy yellow colour – and bring it back up to heat.
  8. Season, garnish with the coriander, sultanas and almonds, if using, and serve with rice or bread.

Notes

  • I don’t know if it’s specifically a Welsh thing or just innate frugality but I cannot discard the green leaves of a cauliflower so I keep them back and add
  • I bought a reduced price pack of cauliflower & broccoli florets a while back thinking I’d make a killer pasanda. Sadly no. Much as I love both vegetables, the broccoli tasted very strange in this dish.
  • Leftovers after a night in the fridge? Delicious.
  • I’ve never bothered with almonds (high cost for little taste) and I’m not overly convinced that they’re as good for you as the almond growers and their marketing people would have us believe.
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2 responses to “Jack Monroe’s Cauliflower Pasanda”

  1. janetplanet says:

    Is that green veg Zucchini?

    What makes this dish a “Pasanda”?

  2. You have an eagle eye, janetplanet – I had to use a stock photo for this recipe (see credit below the image) until I make it again and take some proper shots. And yes, it’s not just cauliflower in there, I suspect there’s some zucchini too. New photos of roasted cauliflower and the completed dish coming soon. The original article on the Guardian website has a lovely photo of the dish in the meantime.

    As to what makes a dish a pasanda? I think there are as many answers to that as there grains of rice in my larder (a lot).

    My favourite though is from Wikipedia:
    “The word is a variation on the Urdu word “pasande” meaning “favourite”, which refers to the prime cut of meat traditionally used within.”

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