The key to making this delicious dish lies in toasting the cumin in hot oil. The oil should be hot, but not smoking, when the cumin is added. The cumin should toast until it just darkens a few hues and becomes aromatic. People often make the mistake of toasting the cumin until it turns black which leads to bitter, pungent flavors, rather than warm, sweet flavors. After that, toss in the cauliflower, add the tomatoes and the spices and in no time you'll have a lovely cauliflower dish. Another important note is that the cauliflower florets should be left relatively large so that they do not become mushy and retain a bit of their bite. This dish is delicious over rice or quinoa or served with flat bread as a main course. Alternatively, it could be an intriguing and flavorful side dish to a hearty protein. Enjoy!
Serves 2-4 depending on if serving as main or side
1 medium sized head of cauliflower, broken down into large florets
4 small plum tomatoes, chopped into 1" cubes
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 Tbsp neutral flavored oil
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chili powder or cayenne
1 tsp ground or finely minced fresh serrano chilis
1 tsp ground or grated ginger
Salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish
Heat oil over medium high heat in a large wok*. When the oil shimmers, add the cumin seeds. Allow to roast until a few hues darker and very aromatic. Add the cauliflower and quickly stir to coat in all of the flavorful oil. Cover to cook, uncovering to stir occasionally.
When the cauliflower is just slightly less opaque, add the tomatoes, turmeric, chili powder, serrano chilis, ginger, and salt. Stir to combine well. Cover to cook, uncovering to stir occasionally. Cook until the tomatoes have broken down and created a thick sauce and the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork. Adjust for salt, garnish with a flourish of cilantro, and serve.
* If you do not have a wok, and are making this in a sautee or sauce pan, increase oil to 2 Tbsp.
Note: If desired, add one peeled and cubed russet potato to make the dish more substantial. Add at the same time as the cauliflower with a tablespoon of water to prevent sticking.