Why It Works
- Roasting the cauliflower beforehand allows it to caramelize and release its sweetness.
- A well-rounded dose of warm spices adds richness and depth to the sauce.
This vegetarian side dish or main course features roasted cauliflower in a fragrant, creamy sauce, spiced with ginger, cinnamon, anise, and more, and studded with plump raisins and slivers of crisp almonds.
- 1 large head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds; 680g), halved, cored, and cut into 3-inch florets (see note)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound; 450g), finely chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 4 cloves
- 1 star anise pod
- 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 ounce; 30g)
- 5 medium cloves (25g) garlic, grated or minced
- 2 teaspoons (5g) ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons (5g) ground coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon (2g) dried chile flakes
- 1 tablespoon (8g) garam masala
- 1/4 cup ground almonds (30g; can be ground in a food processor from about 1/3 cup slivered raw almonds)
- 1 cup (240ml) Greek yogurt
- 1 cup (240ml) homemade quick vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (75g) golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon (15g) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (45g) toasted slivered almonds, for garnish
- Cilantro leaves and tender stems, for garnish
Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C) and place rack in middle position. Place cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown on one side, about 10 minutes. Turn and roast until brown on second side and just tender, 7 to 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet or stainless steel sauté pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, cinnamon stick, cloves, and star anise and cook, stirring, until onions are soft and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, chile flakes, garam masala, ground almonds, and 1/2 cup (120ml) water. Cook, stirring often, until water is absorbed and ground almonds begin to look and smell toasted, about 5 minutes.
Stir in yogurt, stock, cream, raisins, and brown sugar. Season lightly with salt, then lower heat and simmer until sauce thickens to a creamy glaze, about 10 minutes. (If it gets too thick, stir in a little more water or stock.) Stir in roasted cauliflower and toss until cauliflower is warmed through and coated in sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick pieces and star anise. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and scatter with toasted slivered almonds and cilantro. Serve with raita, rice, and/or Indian flatbreads.
Feel free to use either standard white cauliflower or, if you can find it, the orange variety pictured here.