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Indian-Inspired Roasted Cauliflower Medley

November 16, 2011

Long ago and in another time, when I was in high school,  I’d sometimes yell out LET’S MAKE  APPLE PIE!!! or  I’M IN THE MOOD FOR MACARONI & CHEESE…. FROM SCRATCH!! or a HOW ABOUT  WE BAKE A GUGELHUPF? (sp?) to which my mom always enthusiastically agreed. I think she, after years of working long days in the clothing store she and my dad had in the Bronx, was guilted into going along with me. She was a good cook and knew a bit about baking , but never had the time to stray from her reliable repertoire.

When I first started cooking on my own on a regular basis, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. In my mom’s kitchen, when it came to chicken or meat, there were three jars of seasoning: onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. That’s it. Clean and simple. Delicious, but I knew there was more. So I stocked my spice rack with everything from allspice and chervil to marjoram and oregano.

The first time I stewed a chicken, instead of going with THE BIG THREE, I put a little of everything I had on hand, and THAT was quite a bit. It all kind of canceled each other out and the effect was not altogether pleasant. I then decided that when it came to herbs, less is more (as with many other things in life). Pick one or two herbs you want to highlight in a dish and commit. That general guideline has worked for me over the years, whether it’s basil, dill or rosemary.

But when it comes to this Indian-inspired  dish, more seasoning = more flavor. Do not be afraid to be generous in the sprinkling on of these spices. Unlike in my early days of sprinkling dried herbs willy-nilly, all these spices go beautifully together.

Last week, my novio (AKA my husband Joel) & I ate dinner with good friends at Public Kitchen & Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. They indulged my desire to order a bunch of small plates and sides. (The mojitos were excellent!) A side of roasted cauliflower was seasoned with vadouvan (never heard of it -must find me some) and arrived to table cut very small and studded with capers. Interesting combo that I hadn’t seen before and it worked. If you’re into capers, give it a try. But for goodness sakes, throw them on at the end and don’t even think of roasting the little delicate things!

Anyhow, I love to roast veggies and do it at least weekly. Once you get bitten by the roasting bug, the possibilities are amazing. Veggies, all manner of potatoes and fruits take on more flavor and depth when you roast them. The natural sugars caramelize and that makes for very happy eaters around your table. So pull out the largest baking sheets you’ve got (pans with rims are great, like a 1/4 sheet pan or a jelly roll pan) and go to it.


Found this at the Farmer's Market. Any color will do.



Indian-Inspired Roasted Cauliflower Medley

What you need:

3-4 T. olive oil
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed, washed/dried and cut into bite-sized florets
1 large onion, white or yellow, cut in 4-6 chunks
4 medium carrots, cut unto 1-inch chunks (on the diagonal is cool)
3-4 small or medium white potatoes, unpeeled and cut unto a large dice
salt & pepper (use sea salt  or kosher salt for more flavor)
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. ginger, powdered
1 t. cumin (my love)
1 t. Hungarian sweet paprika (another love)
1-3 t. curry powder (depending on your taste buds)
1 t. turmeric
 Note: Kosher salt is a coarse salt without additives and has a purer flavor.
Optional: If you know about vadouvan, by all means, add some and let me know how it goes. Should be excellent.

TECHNIQUE: (This is so important, I may need to do an expanded version as a permanent page in the future. Keep an eye out in the SIDEBAR AREA→)

If you’re a newbie to roasting veggies, and you won’t be by the time we’re through with you, there a few basics to keep in mind:

  • DRY VEGGIES – always towel dry your veggies well after washing. Damp anything will steam in your oven, NOT roast (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
  • SIZE & ROASTING TIMES – When doing veggie combos, you want to keep the size uniform, EXCEPT (and this is a very important EXCEPT) when you are roasting veggies of different density and therefore different cooking times. EXAMPLE: Peppers, onions, brussel sprouts, eggplant or zucchini (not a exhaustive list by any stretch) roast faster than potato or yam wedges. Solution: cut your potatoes or other dense veggies smaller than the others OR begin roasting the denser veggies first and add the quicker-cooking veggies later.
  • SINGLE ROOMY LAYER – Never crowd veggies when roasting. They need space, not a lot, but enough so that air can circulate.
  • OIL – Use  enough oil to moisten the veggies so that the seasonings will stick. Always toss in oil first, THEN add your seasonings.
  • OVEN TEMP – I generally roast veggies between 375° and 425°, depending on the veggies in use. It’s also important to factor in the temperament of your oven. If it’s a slow oven, you’ll need a higher temp or a longer roasting time. With some practice, you’ll get it JUST RIGHT and for most that means a bit crispy  (and/or grilled-looking) on the outside and tender on the inside.

How to do it:

Pre-heat oven to 400° (see note above – doing this at 425° might do the job better for you).  Wash and dry all veggies well. Cut up veggies. You may need to give them another pat dry after cutting.

Grab two large baking pans. I like to cover the pan surface with foil for easier clean-up. Coat pans with 1 T. oil each (alternately, you can use cooking spray). Place veggies on pans in single layer. Add the rest of the oil, sprinkle on all the seasoning  and toss. Roast for 35-40 minutes, flipping once with spatula or flat wooden spoon for even browning.


From → Veggies

  1. Hi
    It is I, Miss G, just learned how so here I am my baby just want to say how proud I am of you,love cooking with you. A person can learn so much from you-thank you for my classes.
    your Miss G

  2. Janice permalink

    Another winner! Your roasting tips were really helpful, even though I roast veggies often. I didn’t know you are supposed to dry those guys first. Can’t figure out how to be notified about when your next entry will be. As you know, I’m computer impaired.

  3. Tova permalink

    Judy, when can I come over for dinner? This sounds just delicious! Thank you for sharing this with me.

  4. Jean permalink

    Hi Judy, I fixed your cauliflower dish for a pot-luck on Monday night. It received rave reviews. Delicious! Next time I make it I will toss each vegetable in 1 T of oil for each separately. I’ll roast the potatoes and carrots for 10 minutes before I add the cauliflower and onions. It is a great company dish.

  5. Rita permalink

    OOOOHHHH, no wonder my roasted Brussels sprouts turned out STEAMED instead of roasted on Thanksgiving day……I washed them after halving them and did NOT think of drying them !
    I’ll try them once more, with feeling.
    Love you, Rita

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