Poppy Seed-Crusted Cauliflower
Colin Cowie
Servings: Serves 6
  • 5 tablespoons black or white poppy seeds
  • 6 or 7 small dried hot red chilies , like Japone or Thai (3 stemmed, seeded, broken into pieces, and 3 or 4 whole chilies)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 medium-size cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch floret
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds ' '
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Directions
    Grind poppy seeds and chili pieces in a spice or coffee grinder until they form a fine powder; transfer to a small bowl and mix with 6 tablespoons water to form a paste. Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, combine turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar; add cauliflower and toss until evenly coated. Set aside.

    In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add cauliflower and stir-fry 4 to 6 minutes, until it begins to brown in spots; remove with slotted spoon to baking sheet lined with paper towels.

    Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add nigella seeds, bay leaves, and remaining whole chilies. Stir-fry 15 seconds, then add poppy seed paste. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant; stir in cauliflower and remaining 1/2 teaspoon each salt and sugar until cauliflower is coated.

    Add 2/3 cup water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 6 minutes, stirring once or twice, until cauliflower is just tender and sauce is absorbed.

    Note: White poppy seeds and nigella seeds (also known as kalonji or black onion seeds) are available at www.kalustyans.com.