I’m not much of a fan of either cauliflower or broccoli unless it’s raw. The texture and especially the aroma while cooking just don’t appeal to me. However, I do love both vegetables in Mediterranean or Indian dishes. Somehow they’re always tender but not overcooked, with plenty of flavor.
Recently a friend served me a simply wonderful preparation of what I’d call a Tandoori-style cauliflower. The vegetable was first blanched in hot water and then refreshed under cold water. The spices and chiles were combined with the yogurt, the cooled cauliflower was folded into the yogurt mixture and placed on a baking sheet, then covered and refrigerated for 2 hours. Next it was baked in a hot oven for about 15 minutes.
The results were delicious, but I thought I’d give it a try sous vide. Basically I used her recipe but simplified it by mixing everything together, transferring to a food bag, and cooking in my SousVide Supreme for 40 minutes.
The sous vide preparation was quick and easy, and the cauliflower was flavorful and cooked perfectly al dente. You’ll need a spice blend called Chaat Masala; you can find it in some Asian markets or it’s easy to make yourself and store for future use.
Chaat Masala: In a small sauté pan over medium heat, toast until aromatic: 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, and ½ teaspoon black peppercorns. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Combine with 3 teaspoons sea salt, 1 teaspoon garam masala, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon paprika. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Makes about ⅓ cup.
Serves 2 as a vegetarian main course or 4 as a side dish
- Preheat the water bath to 183° (84°C).
- Combine the first 14 ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Add the cauliflower and stir until coated with the marinade. Place the prepared cauliflower in a large food bag and seal using the water displacement method.
- Cook for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heat the olive oil on medium-high heat and add the onion slices. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to sauté until the onion is caramelized, about 30 minutes, reducing the heat to low when the onion begins to brown. Keep warm until the cauliflower is ready.
- Transfer the cooked cauliflower to the sauté pan with the caramelized onions, discarding any bag juices, and add the cashews. Stir and remove from the heat. Add the spinach and stir for about 30 seconds. Serve as a side dish or a vegetarian entrée.