Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes

My spice cabinet runneth over. Actually, my spice rack, a 6-level behemoth holding spices 2 jars deep, runneth over. As does my extra spice shelf, which holds overflow from my spice rack. And the top shelf of my cabinet, which holds the remainder of the bags of  bulk spices that wouldn’t fit into the mini mason jars that I use for my over-flow shelf. I have all the spices. Sure, some of them are probably older than they should be—not all of us can afford the time to track the 6 month expirations of zillions of spices—but having such an ample collections means that when I feel like making a french dish, I don’t have to run out and find juniper berries. Feel like cardamom rice pudding? No problem. Or that when a recipe calls for not one, but two types of cumin (whole seeds and ground!), there’s no need to bust out the spice grinder OR visit Kalustyan’s. It makes feeding the cravings so much easier.

If I was going to guess, I would say that my most used spice is cumin. I love it. Sure, I’ll have month-long torrid affairs with smoked paprika or chipotle or similar tempting Lotharios, but I always come back to my cumin. According to wiki, it’s the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper and I understand why (you must always believe wiki-totally reliable). It’s a part of so many flavor profiles the world over—Mexican, Indian, Moroccan, Cuban, Middle Eastern—and blends so well with so many flavors (my favorite partner is coriander); how could it not be loved? I use it so much that I buy it in bulk. No joke.

This is one of my favorite quick, healthy recipes. It’s just a simple curried cauliflower and potato recipe, but what makes it great is that you make the curry from scratch rather than using a pre-made blend. The potatoes and cauliflower are roasted until tender and sweet, then tossed with a fragrant mixture of onions, garlic, fresh ginger and spices. The recipe takes all of 30 minutes to whip together and is a great break from your normal dinner dishes. Normal people would eat this as a side dish, but I eat it as my dinner with greek yogurt (you’re shocked, I know) and chutney, if I have some sitting around. Sure, there may be a few spices in here that you don’t have laying around. If that’s the case, I suggest that you get out there and buy them, because someday you’ll run across a recipe calling for turmeric that makes your mouth water and then you’ll be glad that you have such an awesome spice rack.

Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes

Adapted a teeny weeny little bit from Gourmet (also seen on Smitten Kitchen). Serves 4 as a side dish.

1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4″-wide florets
1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
4 T olive oil, divided
1/2 t cumin seeds
1 t salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 t minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
2 t minced peeled fresh ginger
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/4 t turmeric
1/4 t cayenne
1/2 c water

  • Heat oven to 475°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower and potatoes with 2 T olive oil, the cumin seeds, and 1/2 t salt
  • Roast for ~20 minutes, tossing half-way through, or until cauliflower and potatoes are tender and browning in spots

While the vegetables roast:

  • In a large pan, heat the last 2 T olive oil over medium heat
  • Add the onions, garlic, ginger and jalapeño and saute until very soft and beginning to brown (~10 minutes)
  • Add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and last 1/2 t salt and cook 2 minutes
  • Add the water and scrape up any brown bits
  • When the vegetables are done roasting, add them to the pan and stir until completely coated. Cover and let cook 5 minutes
  • Serve with greek yogurt and chutney
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