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Veggie dishes can sometimes be designated to the lower end of the dining table hierarchy, especially when competing with a satiating protein with big, punchy flavours that everyone reaches for first. These cauliflower steaks are the exception to this rule. The 'steaks' are bathed in a mixture of highly flavourful ingredients, the star being golden vadouvan, then roasted until tender and slightly caramelised before being topped with a yoghurt sauce and fresh herbs.
Best known as the spice mix served with kedgeree, vadouvan is a blend of aromatics inspired by the masalas of Southern India and can be sprinkled straight from the jar over almost any savoury dish to add an instant spicy, aromatic punch.
Of course, you could serve these cauliflower steaks as a side dish, but it can certainly hold its own as a main. Serve with your favourite pickles, chutney and naan bread.
FOR THE CAULIFLOWER
FOR THE RAITA
Preheat oven to 200°C. Mix the kashmiri chilli and vadouvan with 1 tbsp mustard oil. Rub this on both sides of the cauliflower steaks. Place remainder of mustard oil and ghee in an oven tray or pan and place in the oven until melted.
Using tongs, carefully place steaks on the oil and ghee mix and roast for 15 minutes. Flip the steaks and continue to roast for a further 10 minutes until golden brown and the tips of a sharp knife can easily go through the stem of the cauliflower.
While steaks are cooking, make the raita. Heat the grapeseed oil in a small pan on medium. Add the mustard seeds, occasionally agitating until the seeds start popping. Remove from heat and cool. Reserve a small amount of the popped seeds for garnish. Mix yoghurt, popped mustard seeds, salt and coriander in a bowl. Add more seasoning to taste if needed.
Place a warm cauliflower steak on a plate and top with some raita. Sprinkle extra vadouvan and kashmiri chilli over raita and finish with a scattering of fresh coriander. Serve with green chilli pickle on the side.
*Tip: Don't waste the florets that are left behind. They can be tossed in the spice rub and roasted alongside the steaks but for less time.
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