Comforting Curried Cauliflower Gratin

December 13, 2012

Curried cauliflower gratin is a comforting side dish.  Cauliflower may get a bad rap but if you treat it right, it will become your new favorite vegetable.  Steamed florets are sauteed with aromatics and spices until they become fragrant.  Flour and coconut are added to create a thick and rich sauce.  The mixture is then baked with a crunchy panko layer that covers the top.  Curried cauliflower gratin is one dish that can stand up on its own.

Curried Cauliflower Gratin

Ingredients:

Gratin:
1 head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of leaves and stem
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
5 tablespoons minced shallot (1 large)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 pinches ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (14.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
 
Topping:
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 cup Panko or breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
 
Directions:
 
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Butter an 8x8 inch baking dish and set aside.
 
Steam the whole cauliflower until tender but not soggy (about 15 minutes). Cool and slice the cauliflower horizontally.
 
Heat the peanut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, shallot, and garlic; sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the dry spices and sauté until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to cook, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the coconut milk and salt and cook at a simmer, stirring, about 3 to 5 minutes (until thickened).
 
Layer the cauliflower slices and curry cream in the prepared baking dish.
 
Sprinkle the cumin seeds and breadcrumbs over the cauliflower and curry cream. Drizzle the breadcrumbs with the melted butter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
 
Sprinkle the finished dish with the minced cilantro and serve.

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