September 7, 2012

Usual fare - Unusual way ~ Spiced & baked cauliflower bhaja~

What happens when life hands you a lemon? well of course, make a lemonade right? now don't get me wrong over here..this post has nothing to do with lemons, lemonade or anything remotely citrusy for that matter...but it most definitely has to do with that unfateful day when a normal walk down a classroom turned fatal for my wobbly left ankle. It decided to take a twist leaving me immobile for a while (seems like eternity though .. *sigh*). Now that means me being away from my haven - the kitchen (if you didn't know that already..duh!) for a while. I accepted the challenge (err the lemon) and the message - with a lot of grace. It was high time I took things slowly and literally keep my feet up. This creation actually signifies that laid back approach to making something absolutely gorgeous sans the scrambling around. It signifies the ultimate ease of preparation for anyone who wants the break or wait- gets handed over that break ;)

Now without digressing any further and running the risk of losing your interest..let me say this recipe was the brainchild of my utterly immobile condition teamed with the desire to make something scrumptious for my loved one who untiringly and unselfishly looked after me. Like they always say..any emotion is best expressed in the form of good food. So here I was scrambling my brains to make something mouth watering when this big cauliflower blob stared right back at me. Instantly I was flooded with memories of fried cauliflower florets tossed with potatoes and spices. Mmm..A yum staple at my place. Since frying was out of option, baking was the next best treatment I could think of. Honestly, I had always wanted to bake veggies in the oven, but the hands-on person that I am, watching the food simmering over the stove gives me an unknown satisfaction. So this was just the perfect time to toss everything together and let it bake till golden brown, soft, sweet and utterly delightful, while I kept my feet up. It turned out to be so good that I have been warned of dire consequences if I didn't blog about it. So you see I HAD to share this with you.

Does anyone remember the sogginess of the cauliflower florets when cooked for slightly longer in the effort to get them thoroughly cooked? I confess that I have been the victim many a times and that's what has kept me away from cauliflower for a long time. But here I am, back to being friendly with the cauliflower. The sweetness with the spiciness, the softness with the crunchiness provides the perfect blend of textures and flavors and who can forget the melt-in-the-mouth buttery-ness of roasted garlic. It literally took me to new highs.

Spiced & roasted cauliflower bhaja

Surprisingly and delightfully addicting- this roasted and spiced Indian cauliflower-potato-garlic side dish has the perfect blend of sweetness, crunchiness and the charred undertones essential to kick this simple dish up a notch. Must I say - it's as simple as 1-2-3. 

P.S. Bhaja is an Odia term for any dry and sauteed side dish.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)

1 medium sized Cauliflower
2 small potatoes - Cubed
7-8 whole cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp Pav bhaji masala (Optional)
1/4 tsp salt (Adjust according to taste)
1/4 tsp sugar
4-5 T Olive oil
Dash of lemon juice (Here comes the lemon!)
Chopped cilantro for garnish (Optional)

Like I said- 1-2-3 ;)

Step 1: Cut the cauliflower into medium and equal sized florets. Peel the garlic and cube the potatoes.

Step 2: Mix all ingredients together and make sure to rub the florets well with the oil and spices. Everything should be coated well with oil. Add more oil if required.

Step 3: Pre-heat the oven to 400oC. Spread out the cauliflower mixture on a sheet pan so that it forms more or less a single layer. Bake for 30-40 mins while tossing every 10-12 mins.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice or rotis.

- Preheat the sheet pan in the oven too. The sizzle that you hear when the cauliflower mixture is added to the pan is what gives it the nice crust.

- Just learned on Dr. Oz that olive oil retains its properties much better when tossed with veggies prior to adding to the pan rather than heating the oil IN the pan. So this method earns brownie points for retaining the health benefits of the oil too. Very interesting.

Truly, this recipe has made me very happy about being able to use my oven for anything else than baking the occasional cake/ brownie/ cookie. I am glad it now feels a lot less neglected since I am sure to use it a LOT in the coming months experimenting with ALL kinds of veggies. Try it and you will know what I am talking about. 

Have a great weekend all you mobile folks!

Submitting this recipe to:
- "Bake fest" @ Zesty Palette and by Vardhini
- "Kid's delight" hosted by Valli.
- "Kid's delight: Healthy Makeovers" hosted by Rasi
- "Cauliflower recipe link Challenge" hosted by  Sliceoffme and to Citrus Spice UK


  1. Wow, what a great idea to bake it. Will definitely try it sometime

  2. love it... my friend talked about this recently and I tried it too... I found it very yum, will very less work.
    Hope you feel better soon!

  3. Love the veggie never thought of making my veggies this beautifully crisp in the oven.
    Sorry about your ankle hope you are better soon.
    Thanks for linking it up.
    I am hosting Bake Fest all through Sept ’12. Do send me your entries
    I am also hosting Fast Food Not Fat Food 1st Sept to 15th Oct ’12. Do send me your entries

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  5. I was about to say get well soon until I noticed the date on your post ! Lovely tip there about the olive oil.Thank you for linking up with In my Veg Box for May 2014 with the theme Cauliflower .


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