I love Tandoori – especially vegetables. In this recipe you’ll learn how to take the Tandoori Masala I posted earlier and actually use it to make a traditional Indian marinade that can be put on anything. In this case, I used cauliflower.
I wanted to do something dramatic, like some other food bloggers out there, and cook up a whole head of cauliflower with the tandoori paste and bake it in the oven. But, honestly, I just could not do that to you all. It came out very dry with just a layer of marinade crusted on the outer layer.
I think the problem is two-fold. One, cauliflower is not a porous vegetable. So, none of the marinade is actually seeping in. And, I don’t have a commercial Tandoor. Meaning my oven at a mere 400 degrees F is nothing compared to a restaurant’s 900 degrees. It just didn’t taste good enough for me to put the Indian As Apple Pie name on it, nor to make it to my next book.
But, what I will share with you is my recipe for the cauliflower first diced, then marinated, and then baked. This came out delicious and a recipe that I can put my name on! I hope you’ll try it soon!
Baked Tandoori Cauliflower
½ cup plain yogurt (fat, non-fat, low-fat)*
1 tablespoon tandoori masala
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated, 2 tablespoons
½ lemon or lime, juiced
1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut in bite-sized pieces (6 cups)
1/2 lemon or lime
1 small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
1 – 3 Thai, Serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Mix yogurt, tandoori masala, salt, ginger, and lemon or lime juice in a large mixing bowl. I use a whisk to really blend everything together.
2. Carefully fold in cauliflower florets. Mix carefully so all of the pieces are coated. (Remember, you can use anything from tofu to tempeh to paneer to chicken, but the cooking times may vary. You can also cook it up on a grill – perfect for summer.)
3. Put bowl in the refrigerator and marinate ideally overnight or at least 2 hours.
4. When you are ready to cook, adjust your oven rack to the highest position and pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Arrange the marinated cauliflower in a single layer on a baking tray. (I oil the tray lightly first.) Bake for a total of 30 minutes, turning in between at least once to be sure the pieces are lightly browned on all sides.
6. Once cooked, place the cauliflower in a bowl or tray. Squeeze lemon or lime over it; smother it in onions, chiles, and cilantro. If you want to add a little more punch, sprinkle a bit of the tandoori masala over it just before serving. This is best enjoyed with thick Indian bread like naan and a side of mint chutney.
Vegan-ize it! Substitute plain soy or coconut yogurt for the regular yogurt.
* Many folks ask me if they can substitute Greek yogurt. I recommend not doing that. The yogurt has to have some moisture in order to seep into your main ingredient. I found using Greek yogurt that the marinade would just sit on top and not really create the taste profile I was looking to create. For those using homemade yogurt, note that it can be very watery. This can pose a problem as well. Just drain off that water a bit before using the yogurt.
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