Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cauliflower with Chilli and Sesame Seeds

I had plans of making a cauliflower soup, but I could hear D trying to persuade me to make a Aloo Gobi salan aka Potato Cauliflower Curry.
I just didn't fancy a heavily spiced or saucy dish today, preferring something a little lighter.  After flicking through  a couple of cookbooks, in this case one from Reza Mahammad, a compromise was made when my gaze fell upon a mildly spiced cauliflower recipe sprinkled generously with sesame seeds.  We were both happy. 

This recipe would be perfect served as an accompaniment to some plain boiled potatoes.  
For those of you unfamiliar with Reza Mahammad, he has been described by The Observer Food Monthly as a 'cross between Freddie Mercury and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen'.  I have to agree, he certainly is a charming character.  Some of you in the U.K may know him from the televised cookery series 'Delhi Belly' co-hosted with Sanjeev Bhaskar of Goodness Gracious Me fame.  Reza also made a cookery series called 'Coconut Coast' filmed in India; and 'Reza States of America', which I have not seen.

If you want a bit of a giggle click here to see a clip of one of the most popular sketches from the series  featuring the cast 'Going out for an English' (a comical play on people going out for a Curry; and a parody of scenes still encountered at many  'Indian' restaurants up and down the U.K).  Please view it with some humour and a pinch of chilli, literally.  The scene shows a different perspective of ethnic role reversal and prejudicial attitudes to different cuisines.  
Cauliflower with chilli and sesame seeds
Serves 4 – 6 as an accompaniment
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 onions, finely sliced
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste
4 dried red chillies, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ½ piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 – 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Optional: coriander for garnish
Heat the oil in a wide pan, then add the cumin seed and allow them to crackle.  Now add the onions, along with the turmeric and salt, and stir.  Cook until the onions are soft.  Add the dried red chillies, garlic, and ginger and continue to cook for a couple of minutes, then add in the cauliflower florets.  Stir to coat the cauliflower evenly with the mixture.  Cover the pan with a lid and cook the cauliflower on low heat for 7  - 12 minutes or until tender.  When the cauliflower is almost cooked, stir in the sesame seeds and stir briskly for a couple of minutes, Adjust the salt to taste, garnish with optional coriander and serve.   Adapted from Rice, Spice and all things Nice by Reza Mahammad


  1. Yes, a very apt description of Reza Mahammed! We have his book too.

  2. Coconut Coast!!! I loved that show...we had it here in Canada...he was charming...kind...natural and always smiling. Not puffed up..just 'real'. I actually wrote to the television station to ask why I have not seen him again. I miss him very much...his humor, and engaging way of including you in the kitchen..not to mention the recipes of those he interviewed.

  3. Great blog and great recipes, this one in particular. I love cauliflower and can't wait to try this recipe ... :0)

  4. Nice blog Shaheen.

    I currently have a glut of chillies so I'll be trying this one out.

  5. I love cauliflower - its interesting that for a vegetable that I somehow associate with Anglo English cooking (as in cauliflower cheese) the most interesting recipes for it seem to be either Middle Eastern or sub continental in origin. But then I guess this is a staple winter crop in the temperate parts of the Middle East and Asia.

  6. I think I know who you are talking about Shaheen. I remember watching a programme where he was setting up a restaurant with someone. Cannot for the life of me remember what it was called. I did enjoy watching it though. A lovely way with cauliflowers too :)

  7. Just googled it. The tv programme was called Nigel's Place in France. Did you see it?

  8. Thanks Mark.
    Have you cooked from it? one of my favourite recipe is Haveli Ki Kofta.

    I am so pleased to read that you have watched
    Coconut Coast! and hear of Reza. I know some people poke fun at him, but he is just being himself, and why not. I haven't seen much of him on TV in the U.K lately.

  9. Thanks Shirl.
    We have met before, I remember leaving on your blog a long while ago as my mother in law lives in Essex and it was for that reason I remember stumbling across your blog. Anyway I am pleased to hear from you again and that you like this cauliflower :0)

    Thank you so, so much Chris.

    Ah a chilli man - love it. You will find plenty of spicy recipes here.

  10. Hi Jacqueline.
    Yes, he was in that series too, but I have to admit, I didn't watch much of it, as i couldn't put up with his business partner, what was his name Nigels mood swings and strops. I am glad you like the cauliflower recipe :)

  11. I am a sucker for good food blogs, which yours definitely is! I love the interesting/unique recipes I see on your side bar!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and introducing me to yours. I hope you'll check back. :) New follower.


  12. Thank you so, so much Ajaz,
    for your warm compliment and for repaying the compliment. I am most humbled that you have chosen to become a follower, thank you so much. Please be assured I will def. be back to check out your space. Thank you.

  13. Thanks Liz.
    Nearly missed your comment. It was in my spam bin :( Good job I looked, you would have thought I was ignoring you and honestly I was not. Thank you so much for taking the time, its really appreciated.

  14. i love reza! have only just discovered him on uk food network. is his book any good?

  15. Hi Sian,
    I have the book mentioned in this entry, but not the one from his new show. His food is a lot more authentic than a lot of the South Asian celebrity cooks on TV. Re the book, I like it, so would recommend it.


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