AL FRESCO VEG
What’s cooking today: Roasted cauliflower in a braai pot
Looking for fresh ways to use a cast-iron braai pot, I eyed the whole cauliflower I’d been planning to roast and thought, well, why not?
One of the best spinoffs of the move to plant-based eating by those who choose that diet is the inventive ways people are coming up with to cook cauliflower. It’s a great vegetable that lends itself to a creative cook’s imagination. Those of us who eat a broader diet that also includes a lot of vegetables (which have always been a part of my life; in fact I eat much more veg than I do meat, who knew?) love experimenting with them. Cauliflower in particular is a superb blank canvas for spices and herbs. And it readily takes on strong flavours such as soy, lemon, cumin and ginger without its own essential flavour being masked. Just like meat, if you think about it, though I’m not a fan of calling a thick slice of cauliflower a steak. But that’s another story.
A whole cauliflower (in fact, this was two whole, smallish ones) had me reaching for the soy (both sour and sweet) and a handful of spices. I had a fire going because I was also cooking a rack of lamb, so I decided I’d use the cast-iron braai pot, but for veg. That’s a first at my braai side.
1 whole (or 2 smaller) heads of cauliflower
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sweet soy sauce
Juice and grated zest of ½ a lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp five spice
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp white pepper
8 toasted almonds, crushed
2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
Combine all marinade ingredients in a round-bottomed bowl and stir (you need the curved base for coating the cauliflower in the marinade). Trim excess leaves of the cauliflower and cut out the choke (the hard stem centre at the bottom). Dunk all sides of the cauliflower in the marinade. Leave to marinate for 2 hours.
Oil the base of the braai pot and put the cauliflower bottom-side down in it. Put the lid on. Place coals all around the base of the pot and a few on the lid. Cook for about an hour or until tender. Add top-up coals as needed. Pour the remaining marinade over the top and cook for another 5 minutes before serving, garnished with crushed almonds and chopped mint. DM/TGIFood
Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021 for his food writing. His book, foodSTUFF, is now available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.
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