Badami Gobi Musallam. A decadent centrepiece, this cauliflower is drenched in a luscious almond and cashew cream sauce and then roasted whole. It’s the perfect feast for any vegetarians in your midst, and appreciated just as much by meat lovers. Blended caramelised onions add extra depth of flavour and sweetness to the dish, along with the nuts.
4 tbsp oil
Pinch of sugar
3 medium onions (about 350g), halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
400g Greek-style yoghurt
2.5cm fresh root ginger
2 garlic cloves
1½ tbsp almond butter
1½ tbsp cashew butter
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 large cauliflower
2cm cinnamon stick
500ml (2 cups) hot water
1 tsp garam masala
Pour the oil into a frying pan and place over a medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the sugar, onions and a pinch of salt, in that order. Sauté for 12–15 minutes until golden and crisp. Remove from the heat.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.
Transfer the onions to a blender, leaving behind 2 tablespoons for garnishing. Add the yoghurt, ginger, garlic, nut butters, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander, cumin and 250ml (1 cup) cold water and blitz until smooth. Add salt to taste. Pour this sauce into a casserole dish that will snugly hold the whole cauliflower.
Keeping the leaves on the cauliflower (they will char and add to the stunning appearance of the dish), slice off the bottom of the cauliflower so it sits comfortably. Use a sharp knife to stab the
stalk end two or three times to help it cook.
Place the cauliflower upside down in the casserole dish, add the cinnamon stick, loosely cover with foil and shove in the oven. After 40 minutes, take the dish out of the oven, and remove the cauliflower with two forks. Add the hot water to the bottom of the dish and stir to loosen the curry. Return the cauliflower to the casserole dish, the right way up this time, and spoon the curry over the top. Loosely cover and return to the oven for another 20 minutes, then uncover and cook for a final 20 minutes with the garam masala sprinkled over.
Lift the cauliflower into your serving dish and pour the sauce around it, garnishing with the reserved crispy onions. You can also serve the sauce separately for pouring. Cut the cauliflower into chunks or slices at the table.
Rather than making nut cream from scratch, I prefer to use shop-bought nut butter, the kind with no added sugar or salt.
Masala: Indian Cooking for Modern Living by Mallika Basu is published by Bloomsbury ($45.00) Out now!