Fennel-spiced Cauliflower Florets


Fennel-spiced Cauliflower Florets

This recipe was given to us by a family friend who often serves it at her own cocktail parties. She found it in the cookbook Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking. The unusual spices turn plain cauliflower into a delicacy.


Ingredients Directions

1 large cauliflower head
7 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
1 tablespoon whole black mustard seeds
2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons water

Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets. Put them in a bowl of cold water for at least half an hour and wait to drain until you’re ready to cook them.

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, put in the fennel seeds and mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the cayenne and turmeric. Stir once to combine, then put in the cauliflower, salt, and water. Stir once, then cover the pan and cook 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove the cover and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the cauliflower is cooked through but still slightly crisp, another 3 to 5 minutes. If the water evaporates before the cauliflower is cooked, add a little more.

Serve warm or at room temperature with toothpicks.

Makes about 6 cups of cauliflower.

Make-Ahead Factor

The cauliflower can be made 1 day ahead and kept covered and refrigerated. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

From Cocktail Parties, Straight Up! Easy Hors D'oeuvres, Delicious Drinks and Inspired Ideas for Entertaining with Style by Lauren and Anne Purcell.