“Each spice has a special day to it. For turmeric it is Sunday, when light drips fat and butter-colored into the bins to be soaked up glowing, when you pray to the nine planets for love and luck.”
-Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, The Mistress of Spices
Tried and Supplied founder, Domini Hogg, gave me a copy of The Turmeric Cookbook as she is something of a convert to that warmly, rudely, yellow spice. The book is one of a series published by Octopus by an editorial team, so there’s no author ascribed to it. It’s full of marvels, however, and I too am now a fan of turmeric.
This recipe is based on one of the best I tried out. There is a minute in the making of this dish which is pure poetry. It’s the moment when the mustard seeds start to pop, and the fennel seeds, coriander, cumin, and the earthy pungent turmeric are all added. Time stands still while you inhale this heady aroma. Forget the enjoyment of devouring this – a lot of the pleasure is in conjuring it up. For extra magic make, as Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni suggests, on Sunday!
If you’re a chef you’ll know that turmeric is often teamed with mustard seeds, but the other spices aren’t always involved. This spice mix works wonderfully.
I found this salad (which is best served warm) heated up well the following day. I added capers and chorizo, and I served it with yoghurt….excellent!
You may be dismayed by the number of ingredients, but if you keep your spices well-ordered it is simple and doesn’t involve a lot of time in terms of preparation.
Two things make the dish – the spring onions; and (added by Saucy Dressings) the walnut oil and, if you are using them, the walnuts.
As it is, it’s a vegetarian, and a vegan dish. But for omnivores it also goes well with ham.
Recipe for golden, fragrant salad of cauliflower and turmeric
- 1 medium cauliflower
- 6 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds (yellow)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- Juice of a lime
- 5 cm/1” piece of ginger
- 100g/⅔ cup quinoa
- 3 spring onions
- smoked salt
- a few fresh coriander leaves
- 2 tbsps munchy seeds or roughly chopped walnuts
- walnut oil for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
- Trim the cauliflower of its leaves (you can slice the baby leaves finely and add back in at the end if you feel like it as a garnish).
- Put it on a flat roasting tray lined with foil. Pour over 3 tbsps of olive oil, massaging over, and then rubbing over some salt.
- Put it in the oven for about an hour – it should be browning nicely, cooked through but still a little firm.
- Put the rest of the oil in a small saucepan, get it hot, and add the mustard seeds, stir in. They will begin to pop after a minute or two. Add the rest of the spices and continue to cook for another minute or two, inhaling the wonderful fragrance that exudes from the pan as you do so.
- Take the saucepan off the heat, and grate in the ginger and also add the lime juice (you can also take off the zest and sprinkle over just before serving. Add ½ tsp salt.
- Meanwhile cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions – it’s likely to be cooked in twice its weight of cold water, brought to the boil and simmered for about 20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.
- Slice the spring onions thinly on the diagonal, including about 5 cm/1” of the green.
- Once the cauliflower has cooled a little, break it up into florets and put it in a large bowl (ideally the one you plan to serve it in). Add the spiced oil and mix together. When the quinoa is cooked, drain it if necessary, and add that too. Stir well.
- Drizzle over a little walnut oil, tear over the fresh coriander, sprinkle over the seeds or nuts, and serve with the walnut oil for people to help themselves to. I think this is best served warm, but it’s not at all bad cold either!