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Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Tamarind Coconut Sambal and Fried Curry Leaves

This dish is so rich with flavour and spice, it is a great way to jazz up a simple cauliflower and end up with a beautiful showstopper everyone can’t wait to break into. It can also be prepared in advanced and thrown in the oven an hour before you're ready to eat.

This would be great to serve with fragrant spiced rice and extra coconut yoghurt or as part of a spread with dahls, flatbreads and curries.

Serves 4-6


1 whole cauliflower

100g coconut yoghurt

Sambal Marinade:

2 red chillies, deseeded unless you want more spice

2 cloves garlic

1 knob of ginger

2 tsp palm sugar

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tbsp tamarind paste

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee

Handful of curry leaves

1tbsp mustard seeds

1 lime


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Remove the outer leaves and hard part of the cauliflower stem.

  2. Make the sambal by placing all ingredients in a food processor or finely chop until you have a paste. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the coconut yoghurt to make the marinade.

  3. Place the cauliflower in a deep roasting tray lined with baking parchment and generously rub the marinade all over the cauliflower.

  4. Place the tray in the oven and roast for 1 hour until the cauliflower is cooked through. Keep an eye on it every 15 minutes, basting with any marinade that falls in the tray.

  5. Just before serving, heat the coconut oil or ghee in a small frying pan. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and fry until fragrant and the curry leaves are toasted and crispy. Careful not to burn as they will brown quickly.

  6. When the cauliflower is cooked, pour the spices with the oil all over the cauliflower head.

  7. Zest the lime over the cauliflower and slice the rest to serve on the side. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt flakes and serve.

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