At only 230 calories per serving, this flavor-packed vegetarian meal is truly impressive! Canned fire-roasted tomatoes add slow-cooked depth to this quick weeknight dish (in a pinch, you could substitute regular tomatoes). And roasting the cauliflower florets in a hot oven ensures even more depth of flavor.
Not familiar with garam masala? It’s a blend of ground spices used extensively in Indian cuisine, and available at most supermarkets. There is no single garam masala recipe; the ingredients differ according to the region as well as each chef’s individual preferences. But for the most part, it will include coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In other variations, ingredients may include turmeric, saffron, fennel seeds, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, mace, star anise, tamarind, fenugreek, bay leaves or Malabar leaves. I also added a pinch of Aleppo pepper to the dish for a slightly spicier kick. As garam masala simply means “spices with varying levels of heat,” you have a lot of leeway when it comes to mixing up your own garam masala, or if you need a substitute.
Here’s a simple recipe for garam masala by Danilo Alfaro. If you make yours this way, starting with whole seeds which you toast and grind yourself, your garam masala will be much more fragrant and flavorful than anything you buy in a jar at the store.
- 3 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp. cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp. cardamom seeds
- 2 tbsp. black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. whole cloves
- 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
Place everything but the nutmeg in a dry skillet and toast for about ten minutes over medium-high heat, stirring from time to time to keep everything cooking evenly. When the ingredients have darkened slightly and give off a rich, toasty aroma, remove them from the pan and let them cool.
Grind in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, and mix in the freshly grated nutmeg. Store in an airtight container away from heat.
- 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 lb.), florets cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt, whole milk or low fat (not fat-free)
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, olive oil, or ghee
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs. finely minced or grated fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs. garam masala
- 1 28-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 3/4 cup heavy cream; more as needed
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- Pinch sumac (optional)
- Basmati rice or naan, for serving
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 425°F.
- Toss the cauliflower with the yogurt, olive oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a medium bowl.
- Spread the cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, flipping once, until tender and browned in spots, 22 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
I advise you cut the onion in half along the equator first, then slice. It’ll be both easier to cut, and to eat—which I will do next time…
- Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, ginger, garam masala, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook until the garlic and spices are very fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes with their juice, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer while the cauliflower roasts.
- Add the cauliflower, cream, and half of the cilantro to the sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce begins to bubble, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
- If you’d like a milder sauce, add more cream; spicier, add some Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cilantro and some sumac, if using.
Recipe by Emma Christensen from Fine Cooking