Curried Cauliflower and Onion Bhaji On A Coconut Rice Bed

An aromatic dish which is vibrant in colour and distinctive in taste. There are three stages to making this dish but it’s well worth the wait. You can cheat in the middle and buy readymade bhajis if you prefer.


For the rice:
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 tbsp of butter
1 finely chopped onion
500g of basmati rice
1 400ml can of coconut milk

For the curry:
1 small cauliflower cut into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion roughly chopped
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 can 400ml coconut milk
5cm grated ginger, grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp chilli flakes
4 garlic cloves sliced

For the onion bhajis (makes 6):
Vegetable oil for frying
1 finely sliced onion
50g gram flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp mild chilli powder
½ green chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40-60 minutes
Serves 4


To make the rice:

1.     Begin by preparing the rice. In a large saucepan with a lid, soften the onions in the oil and butter over a low-medium heat.
2.     When the onions are soft, add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
3.     Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring at the same time. Once simmering, cover the pan and turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 10-15 minutes. Regularly scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon so that it doesn’t stick.
4.     Check the rice it should be sticky and creamy but not watery, it still needs to be a little bit crunchy. Transfer the rice into a large microwaveable bowl and cover with cling film, chill until ready to serve (up to a day).
5.     When ready to serve, put a hole in the clingfilm and heat in the microwave on high for 5-8 minutes. Make sure you stir halfway through. Cook until the rice is cooked through and piping hot. Stir through the grains with a fork to break them up.

To make the onion bhajis:
1.     While preparing the base mix, soak the onions in cold water. Sift the flower and baking powder into a mixing bowls and add the chilli powder, chopped chilli , turmeric, and a sprinkling of salt.
2.     Add 100ml of cold water and mix to make a thick batter. If it’s too thick add a little more water.
3.     Drain the onions well, add to the batter and mix well.
4.     Heat about 5cm of oil in a deep pan or wok – never fill the pan more than 1/3. Add a tiny amount of batter, if it rises to the top , surrounded by bubbles, and begins to brown the oil is hot enough for frying.
5.     Lower heaped tablespoons of the batter into the oil, approximately 3 at a time and cook for a few minutes. Turn them once until they are brown and crisp. Carefully remove them from the oil and allow them to drain on a piece of kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and keep warm until ready to serve.

To make the curry:
1.     Preheat the oven to 180c or gas mark 4.
2.     Place the cauliflower florets on a baking tray toss them in olive oil and salt. Sprinkle with paprika and roast for 35-40 minutes until the cauliflower is crispy on the outside.
3.     Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds until they pop and then add the rest of the spices.
4.     Stir for a couple of seconds and then add the onion and fry until soft and golden brown.
5.     Next, add the garlic and ginger, stir for a further 2 minutes, and then add the coconut milk.
6.     Allow to simmer for 5 minutes then add the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas. Season for a further 3 minutes.
7.     Season to taste.
Combine all your ingredients together in your food pot for an exciting and delicious meal.

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