Tandoori Spiced Whole Cauliflower Roast
115 Min

Tandoori Spiced Whole Cauliflower Roast

Local cauliflower season in Texas does not last long so when I spot beautiful heads of cauliflower and green Romanescos at the farmer’s market, it’s hard to walk past them without wanting to grab a few. Or all of them. Last Saturday, I noticed Eli’s table filled with gorgeous green cabbages and Romanescos. The corner table stand of Heights area farmer Armando Bustamante was spilling over with purple and white cauliflowers so I told him to bring me everything he could not sell to the restaurant after. A few hours later, he arrived with four bus tubs filled with big and small beauties, with many of them having the green jackets (the large leaves surrounding it) still attached. Those green leaves, filled with brassica goodness are perfect to trim and mince then add to stew or sauce bases where you might otherwise use onions or celery. And eating cauliflower every day in a different form is a wonderful way to celebrate eating local. 

This whole roasted cauliflower makes a beautiful centerpiece, but the leftovers are even more delicious the next day and using tandoori spices will fill your kitchen with wonderful aroma. To amp it up, add a melting cheese like cheddar, Swiss or gruyere to the cauliflower during the last few minutes of cooking or until it is melted and slightly bubbly.

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Cook Time

1 hour and 55 minutes



Step 1
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Trim the bottom of the cauliflower and snip away any leaves that may end up overcooking. Using your hands, rub the cauliflower and onion slices with salt and half the ghee. Set the cauliflower on a baking pan, place the onion slices around it and place in the oven.
Step 2
After 10 to 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 300°F and cook the cauliflower for another 30 to 45 minutes or until it is golden brown and almost cooked through. Set the cauliflower aside until it cools down for a while. The onions should have softened and turned golden brown.
Step 3
In the meanwhile, prepare the masala by whisking yogurt, remaining ghee, garlic, red chile, coriander, garam masala, amchur and scant salt.
Step 4
When the cauliflower is cool to the touch, using your hand again, spread the masala over and in and around it, getting to the stalks and the bottom parts. Place the cauliflower back in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve warm with fresh herbs.

1 medium cauliflower (approximately 2 pounds)

1 whole medium red onion, cut into thick slices

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/3 cup melted ghee plus more for drizzling at the end

Tandoori Masala

1 cup plain whole milk yogurt

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons red chile powder

1 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 tablespoon amchur

Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cilantro sprigs as garnish

Notes & Variations

  • A tandoor is a clay or cement barrel shaped oven where the heat source comes from the bottom from either gas, wood or coal and the walls of the oven are what breads like naans and rotis are directly cooked on. Meats or vegetables can be cooked on skewers that are lowered into the oven.
  • To crush the coriander seeds, simply lay on a counter and crush gently with a rolling pin until almost all the seeds are cracked. Or use a mortar and pestle.
  • If you have any jackets or leaves of the cauliflower to use, add them to the baking pan when you add the masala. This way they will cook through but remain bright green.
115 Min

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