(2017) Curried Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Tofu

Recipe Author: Conne Ward Cameron

Maybe you’re ricing cauliflower these days and have 101 ways to use it up. But maybe you’d like one more idea like this one adapted from “Canal House Cooking Volume No. 5” by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton. It looks formidable because of its long ingredient list but like so much Indian cooking, half the list is just the seasonings. Are you saving the liquid from your chickpeas to use as a vegan egg substitute?


4 tablespoons vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped 2 tablespoons peeled, grated fresh ginger (from about a 3-inch piece) 2 medium garlic cloves, minced to a paste 1 teaspoon garam masala 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper Kosher salt 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups) 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1-inch florets 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1 (12-to 14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, large dice Freshly ground black pepper 1 large handful cilantro, leaves and stems coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 medium lime) Steamed brown rice or steamed white rice, for serving (optional) Yogurt, for serving (optional) Naan or chapati, for serving (optional)


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan with a tightfitting lid over medium heat until shimmering. Add the fennel seeds and toast, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the frying pan with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the garam masala, turmeric, cayenne, and a large pinch of salt and cook, dribbling in a little water, 1 to 2 tablespoons, as you stir. Add the chickpeas, cauliflower, and the remaining 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the flour in a large bowl. Place the tofu cubes on paper towels, pat dry, and season all over with salt and pepper. Toss the tofu in the flour until coated. Heat a second large frying pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tofu, tapping off any excess flour first, and brown on all sides, being careful of splattering oil, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and season with more salt.
When the cauliflower is ready, gently fold in the tofu, cilantro, and lime juice. Serve immediately with rice, yogurt, naan, or chapati, if desired.