Rarely have I taken a photograph that so inefficiently portrays the delight that this curry delivers. The most arduous thing that is required here is to chop up a cauliflower and then let the magic happen in the pan. Barely a recipe although one that a you can tinker with at will, adding or subtracting to suit you and whomever you are cooking for. I sometimes make this with individual spices but more often turn to a good paste and then shake in a couple of extras that I like. The use of a paste not only makes this even easier and quicker but may be a useful shortcut for those without an entire spice drawer at their disposal.
The reasonably large quantity of stock which is required to cook the cauliflower is then given substance and body by the addition of red lentils. I have only used half a tin of coconut milk because I’m looking for a suggestion of its sweet, fragrant note rather than a full on green curry vibe – the other half I freeze until next time. I also use all the cauliflower, stalks, leaves and all which makes the supremely satisfying, not only in the eating sense but also in the frugality and no waste sense.
I add the cardamom and nigella seeds simply because I like their specific flavours but it is entirely up to you and the curry will absolutely not suffer without them. If you love ginger add some grated ginger or chuck in extra garlic if that is your thing, the following is simply my way, you can go off piste as you please. The paste I have taken to using is a Jamie Oliver Keralan one but any good quality medium heat paste will be fine – use what you have. Brown rice seems to work particularly well with this and leftovers are tip top for lunch the next day.
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 generous tablespoon of curry paste (see introduction)
100g red lentils
1 litre vegetable stock
1/2 can coconut milk
1 cauliflower chopped into small florets, stalk and leaves cut up too
A handful of cherry tomatoes
Fresh coriander, chopped
Soften the onion in the oil and then add the paste and lentils, stir it all well and then add the stock and coconut milk. Bring it up to a simmer then add the cauliflower, florets, stalk, leaves and all. Cook for about 15 minutes until the cauliflower and lentils are cooked – the lentils will break up a bit and thicken the sauce. Add the cherry tomatoes for the last few minutes just to heat through and soften a bit. Serve with masses of chopped coriander sprinkled over and some brown rice. Serves 4.