Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf

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Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf

Readers will certainly want to try this incredible curried rice and cauliflower dish that I often make for special occasions. Certainly underrated, cauliflower just happens to be a winter vegetable that will enhance your dining experience and it's plenty good for you too. I think the reason vegetables are often absent from the dining table is because many of us grew up with vegetables that were either frozen, canned or cooked into submission so they ended up reaching the plate bland and soggy. The key to this dish is not to overcook the cauliflower. You will want the vegetable to have a just tender texture. Both the cauliflower and rice are a perfect platform for the spices that make this dish extra special.

I have adapted this from Yamuna Devi's Indian bible of authentic dishes entitled Lord Krishna's Cuisine. My regular readers will know that this book was my earliest introduction to Indian cooking shortly after becoming a vegetarian and there was no going back after that.

The recipes are easy adaptable for cooks outside of India and you will find plenty of elegant ideas to grace your breakfast, lunch and dinner tables. If you are new to Indian cooking, this is a most valuable resource, complete with tips and an extensive chapter devoted to general information about basics and important elements of Indian cuisine.

Covered in the book are all the essentials that make up the rich culture of Indian cooking. Dals, breads, vegetable dishes, dairy based dishes, chutneys, sauces and relishes, savories, snacks, sweets and beverages. This is my favorite gift to give if I think my recipient is keen on Indian food and wanting to learn how to make some wonderful dishes in their own kitchen. Perfect for novices and experienced cooks alike, how can you resist over 500 recipes complete with tips and serving ideas.

Rice and Cauliflower PilafRice and Cauliflower Pilaf
Recipe by
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking
Cuisine: Indian
Published on March 14, 2013

Simple, fragrant and delicious spiced rice pilaf with tender seasoned cauliflower — a stunning side dish for an Indian meal

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

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  • 1/2 cup grated fresh coconut or dried unsweetened coconut
  • 2 to 4 fresh green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole fat yogurt or coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 small cauliflower, chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup white basmati rice soaked in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or a mixture of butter and oil, or oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • generous handful of dried curry leaves
  • 3 black cardamon pods, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • a few pinches asafetida
  • 1 scant teaspoon jaggery or brown sugar (optional)
  • lime wedges for garnish
  • Begin by preparing the cauliflower. In a food processor, pulse together the coconut, chilies, ginger, parsley or cilantro, yogurt or coconut milk, turmeric, salt and black pepper.

  • Heat the ghee or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the cauliflower pieces and stir for 5 to 7 minutes or until they begin to brown. Now add the coconut mixture to the pan and continue to stir for another few minutes until the cauliflower is just tender and the sauce has mostly evaporated. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  • Now drain the rice, reserving the soaking water. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ghee or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the mustard and cumin seeds and stir and for 30 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the curry leaves, cardamom pods, ground coriander, cayenne and asafetida, and stir for another minute. Add the rice to the pan and stir for one more minute. Now pour in the reserved soaking water, stir in the jaggery or sugar, and bring to a boil. Stir in the prepared cauliflower, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

  • Add the remaining ghee, butter or oil, fluff with a fork, and serve hot or warm garnished with lime wedges.

Makes 6 servings

More rice dishes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Buttered Lime Rice
Brown Lentils and Rice with Roasted Onions and Spicy Baked Tortilla Chips
Lemon Rice with Toasted Cashews
Baked Italian Brown Rice Balls (Arancini)


Katherine said...

Oh my! I bet this is absolutely delicious!!!!

Health food giveaway on my blog :)


AJ said...

My all time favourite Pulao!