Megan: Having an intense dislike of potato and an indifference to rice provides me with a reasonable amount of restrictions.
I personally don’t feel the need to assimilate my foods to replicate or replace other foods (vegetarian bacon?!), however I frequently cook for other people and if there is one way to make your guests think you are not only fussy, but pedantic, it is to replace one thing with another.
I bring to you… cauliflower.
It is like some sort of godsend really, its texture and mutability yields to such various creations that I wonder if the culinary world was meant for fussy people.
Now, I won’t be ridiculous and suggest that anything that contains potato or rice can be simply replaced by cauliflower, however a lot of dishes (I think) are improved, certainly in nutritional value and often in flavour.
My standard is plain rice.
Cauliflower is simply grated (or blended) to resemble rice sized pieces. Then you steam for 10 minutes or microwave on high for 8. No need to add water or anything really.
I personally like to steam my cauliflower with curry leaf/basil leaves or something to add a bit of flavour to ‘faux rice’ as steamed plain cauliflower has a certain smell to it.
For my ‘fauxtato’ I use a simply recipe;
1 head of cauliflower
1-2 clove of garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of cream
tablespoon of Parmesan
Salt & Pepper
I cut up the cauliflower and microwave for 8 minutes – you can add any other flavours you like here, bay leaf/cloves/rosemary. I would recommend that whatever flavour you add, you place under all the cauliflower to allow the best release of the flavours. After steaming/microwaving you must put the cauliflower onto absorbent paper and pat it dry.
Fry butter and garlic.. add cauliflower, add in cream and Parmesan blitz with a blender and season to taste. If you want it to be a puree rather than a mash just add some milk.
Unlike potatoes, you can’t really stuff it up or turn it into glue.
Only mash and rice? no no.. I have also made fauxtato gems.
Essentially you steam/microwave the cauliflower – pat dry.
Add 1 – 2 eggs and tablespoon or Parmesan, season with whatever you like and a tablespoon of flour.
Roll into balls, you can put a crumb on them/bread crumbs/panko or whatever and fry them.
Sadly, I have also made ‘fauxtato salad’ which given that i also don’t eat eggs, wasn’t at all like a potato salad.
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed
6 rashers of bacon
3 spring onions
1/2 a oven roasted capsicum
1/2 cup of whole egg mayo, 1/4 cup of sour cream, 4 tablespoons of dijon or other mustard, pinch of cayenne and salt and pepper.
Jesse: Cauliflower is underappreciated. This is more I think, due to its colour than its flavour. Like eggplant and potato, it’s capable of taking on new flavours whilst retaining its own nutty, cabbage-like character. It doesn’t need to be smothered in cheese to be tasty (although who doesn’t like that classic dish?). Cauliflower works particularly well in Indian cuisine. Here are two recipes that are probably some of the best Indian dishes I’ve tasted.
1 Onion, sliced
2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
3 tbsp ground coriander (best if freshly ground from roasted seeds)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1/2 cauliflower, in florets
2 potatoes, large cubes
3/4 tin coconut milk
– Fry onion gently in oil until golden brown, then add garlic and ginger until it loses pungency
– Add spices and fry until aromatic, but not burnt
– Add vegetables, stir briefly, then cover with coconut milk.
– Allow to simmer gently until cooked and sauce is thick. Season to taste
– Serve with roti bread
1/2 cauliflower, chopped into small 1cm pieces
2 cups chickpea (besan) flour
1 cup thick Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chillis, chopped finely
bunch coriander leaves, chopped finely
2 tbsp garlic paste
2 tsp salt
– Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Consistency of batter should be sticky but not gluey. Add more besan/yoghurt to adjust if necessary
– Make balls of 4cm diameter
– Deep fry small batches in vegetable oil until brown and cooked through. Don’t allow the oil to get too hot.
– Serve with tamarind chutney and raita.
Note: I generally don’t measure the flour/yoghurt, but just adjust by feel and/or common sense