Tandoori Cauliflower with Lemon and Mushroom Rice

11th April 2017

I’ve had a love for tandoori dishes since childhood. Something about the blend of sharp yoghurt and rich spice is the perfect combination where my taste buds are concerned. Since turning vegan I’ve used cauliflower a few times for its substantial chewy texture. The way it readily absorbs marinades into the crevices of its textured surface is also a huge bonus. This medley is exactly what makes this tandoori cauliflower with lemon and mushroom rice so good.

Tandoori Cauliflower-4

Let me start with a small but significant disclaimer: Without the blistering heat of a traditional Tandoor oven this is never going to taste truly authentic. However there are a couple of steps you can take to make sure it’s as close as you can get to the real thing. The first and in my opinion non negotiable step is to marinade overnight to allow the cauliflower to absorb as much marinade as possible.

Secondly I’ve seen many recipes recently where theΒ cauliflower is marinated and baked whole. Whilst it seems to make an impressive centrepiece I find it really disappointing that despite the delicious crust of the exterior the majority of the centre always looks like plain old cauliflower to me. I don’t know about you but I want that rich, tangy sauce to cling to every surface and find its way into every nook and cranny so for me it’s florets all the way.

Finally the oven needs to be pre-heated on high. I also placed a pizza stone underneath the baking tray during cooking to intensify the heat from all directions. My preference is to slightly overcook the cauliflower to get a bit of a char in certain spots but it’s up to you how crispy you go.

I think it’s important here to mention vegan yoghurt. I have to say I’ve only found one brand I actually enjoy, Tesco’s own unsweetened soya yoghurt. Every other brand I’ve tried, of which there have been many, I find far too sweet to achieve the sharpness I’m looking for in a savoury dish. My honest advice is that if you’ve not already found a brand you love hold off making this recipe until you do. The yoghurt here is literally the glue that brings this whole dish together and getting it wrong would pretty much ruin the whole thing.

I’m especially partial to sour notes when it comes to curry flavours. This dish packs a real citrus punch so if you’re a bit unsure of how lemony you want to go then start with 1/2 a lemon in place of the full lemons in both the marinade and rice stages of the recipe. You can always add more juice towards the end of cooking to your liking.

Tandoori Cauliflower with Lemon and Mushroom Rice

  • Prep time: 10 minutes plus overnight marinade
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Total time: 50 minutes plus overnight marinade

Yields: 6 Portions

Tandoori Cauliflower Recipe

Ritual: Oven Charred
Character: Citrus Spice
Essence: Indian/Vegan Fusion

  • Tandoori Cauliflower
  • 2 Large Cauliflowers - Chopped into florets
  • 1 Large Unwaxed Lemon - Zest and juice
  • 2 Garlic Cloves - Crushed
  • 2 Tbsps Tomato Puree
  • 8 Tbsps Natural Unsweetened Vegan Yoghurt
  • 50g Tandoori Spice Mix
  • Lemon and Mushroom Rice
  • 400g Leftover Cold Cooked Rice
  • 1 Punnet Chestnut Mushrooms - Approx 250g - Cleaned and sliced
  • 1 Large Onion - Diced
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 Large Unwaxed Lemon - Zest and juice
  • 2 Large Garlic Cloves - Crushed
  • 1 Chilli - Finely Diced
  • 1 Thumb Sized Piece of Ginger - Peeled and Grated
  • 1 Veg Stock Cube - Crumbled
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds - Crushed
  • 2 Tbsps Oil

Carefully chop or break the cauliflower from the main stem taking care to preserve the natural floret shapes where possible then boil in salted water for 3 minutes. Cool immediately and drain.

In a bowl large enough for the cauliflower but small enough to fit in your fridge mix together the tandoori spice mix, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, tomato puree and yoghurt.

Toss the cooked cauliflower in the marinade coating thoroughly. Cover and leave refrigerated overnight.

Heat the oven to 250 Celsius/480 Farenheit

Remove the marinated cauliflower from the fridge and spread in a single layer on a large roasting tray.

Cook at the top of the oven for 20 - 30 mins until lightly charred and baked to your liking.

Turn the cauliflower pieces over halfway through cooking at about the 15 minute mark.

Whilst the cauliflower bakes heat a large pan on medium heat and once hot add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Carefully add the onions and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes until starting to caramelise.

Add the chilli, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, stock cube, garam masala, turmeric, coriander seeds and stir thoroughly.

After 5 minutes add the mushrooms and lemon juice.

After a further 5 minutes add the rice and peas. Stir constantly to fully coat the rice with the spice mix.

Heat for 5-10 minutes to ensure the rice is fully heated through. Add a splash of boiling water to prevent sticking if necessary.

Serve the Tandoori Cauliflower and Lemon and Mushroom Rice with a Cucumber and Tomato Raita and chappati or pitta bread.

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I’d love to see your tasty tandoori triumphs. Tag me over on Instagram @applefalltree

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