Although it might sound unusual to cook cauliflower with oranges, it is not unknown in Indian and relatively common in China. This is an Indian dish in which I have found a use for the abundance of cumquats in our garden. The oranges adds a beautiful sweetness to the dish while the cumquats balance the sweetness by adding a delightful sweet-sour tang. The cauliflower is coated in turmeric and sauteed before adding to the sauce.
Similar dishes include Pepper and Turmeric Cauliflower, Roasted Cauliflower with Cumin and Sumac, Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini Dressing, Cauliflower Fry, and Cauliflower Roasted with Black Mustard Seed.
Turmeric Cauliflower with Cumquats and Chilli-Orange Sauce
1 cauliflower, separated into medium sized florets
1 tspn turmeric powder
2 Tblspn mustard oil (or use ghee)
1 Indian bay leaf
1 short piece cinnamon stick
3 green cardamom pods, crushed
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tspn ginger root, grated
3 – 4 green chillies, chopped (or to taste)
1 tspn cumin powder
0.5 tspn Indian red chilli powder
6 – 8 cumquats, halved
0.75 cup fresh orange juice
sea salt to taste
In a bowl, mix 1 Tblspn mustard oil with the turmeric and a pinch of salt, and mix with the cauliflower florets. Don’t be afraid to get your hands in there and mix well – but rinse the turmeric off your hands immediately after.
Heat a kadhai or saute pan and add the cauliflower with any of the oil in the bottom of the bowl and saute until the cauliflower is brown around the edges. Add more oil to the pan while cooking the cauliflower, if needed. When browned, remove the cauliflower from the pan.
Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and add the bay leaf (it will splutter if it is fresh), cardamom pods, cinnamon and cloves and fry off the spices for a few moments until fragrant.Then add the onions and saute until light brown.
Now add the grated ginger, chilli powder, cumin powder and green chillies and continue to stir fry for another 5 mins.
Add the cauliflower with salt to taste, and mix well. Add the orange juice and 0.5 cup of water, cover and cook over a medium heat until the cauliflower is just cooked. The sauce will have reduced, but you may need to add a little more water while the cauliflower is cooking.
Add the halved cumquats, mix well and cook for 4 or 5 minutes for the cumquats to heat and start to release their juices. Mix again and serve. Garnish with coriander leaves if desired.
If the sauce is too liquid, thicken with a little cornflour or besan mixed with water.