Simple Vegetable Curry with Roasted Cauliflower

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This is an excellent curry enhanced with whole toasted spices. All the vegetables except for the butternut squash are added toward the end so they don’t overcook. I like zucchini and summer squash, along with cauliflower that’s roasted ahead of time and used more as a garnish on top (though you could cook it in the curry as well). You could also add green beans, 10 minutes before the curry is done, for more color and a different texture. Of course, you could also add some Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder to make a pork curry or sliced boneless chicken thighs for a chicken curry (I’d sauté the chicken with the spices or roast it separately to brown it). The zucchini is more flavorful if you quarter it and sear the quarters till they are browned, if you want to take this extra step.

Ingredients

  • 20 or so cauliflower florets
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seed or more yellow mustard seed
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 7 tablespoons/105 grams unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 (1-inch/2.5-centimeter) piece ginger, grated
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch/1-centimeter dice
  • 16 cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 2 cups/480 milliliters Vegetable Stock or store-bought broth, or more as needed
  • 1 zucchini, quartered, browned in hot oil (optional), and cut into 2-inch/5-centimeter pieces
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Steamed basmati or jasmine rice, for serving
  • ¾ cup/120 grams cashews, toasted and roughly chopped
  • Leaves and thin stems from 1 bunch cilantro, for garnish

Method

Preheat your oven to 425°F/218°C.

Put the cauliflower in an oven-safe skillet and put in the oven to roast for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the coriander, cumin, mustard seed, and cloves in a dry skillet over high heat for about 1 minute, till the mustard begins to pop and the spices smell fragrant. Transfer them to a mortar or spice grinder and pulverize. Add the turmeric and cardamom.

In a soup pot large enough to contain the stock and vegetables, melt 3 tablespoons/45 grams of the butter over high heat. As it’s frothing and about to turn brown, add the spices, garlic, and ginger and stir to cook them for 30 seconds. Add the squash, mushrooms, and bell peppers and stir to cook. Add the stock and stir. Simmer gently for 30 minutes.

When the cauliflower florets are nice and brown, turn off the oven and pull them from the oven (leave the door open to let out some of the heat). Add 2 tablespoons/30 grams of the butter. Swirl the florets around in the butter until it’s all melted and the cauliflower is lightly coated. Return the skillet to the oven until ready to serve.

Add the zucchini to the soup pot and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream. Knead together the flour and the remaining 2 tablespoons/30 grams butter to make a beurre manié. When the curry comes back to a simmer, stir in the beurre manié. When the curry is thickened to your liking, serve over rice and top with the roasted cauliflower. Garnish with the cashews and plenty of cilantro.