Saturday, May 16, 2009

Curried Cauliflower Flatbread

I always like Mark Bittman's recipes for the New York Times. In case you don't live in the tri-state area, Bittman is the revered Minimalist who has a weekly column in the Times' Dining & Wine section. He's very personable and even though I am not tempted by each and everyone of his ideas, I read him regularly since he went the whole grains and vegetable way a few years ago ("more plants, fewer animals and as little highly processed food as possible" is now his motto).
He went that way for health reasons (he was 57 and in poor shape) but also, as he explains in his book Food Matters - A Guide to Conscious Eating, environmental/ethical ones, after being shocked by what he read in Livestock's Long Shadow, an FAO report which made it very clear that "global livestock production is responsible for about one-fifth of all greenhouse gases - more than transportation".
We were already eating that way when I read Food Matters and very much for the same environmental/ethical and health reasons (having been of the Diet For a Small Planet persuasion for more than 20 years) but I liked the book which is full of suggestions for eating healthfully everyday (even when going out) and whose advice makes a lot of sense in many ways (for instance when cooking whole grains, make a big batch and freeze or refrigerate some for a later use. Do the same with beans and lentils and you'll always have healthy choices available at home even when you don't have much time. That idea appeals to me too as a baker as I often want to make breads that call for cooked rice or wheat and like the fact that I don't have to start from scratch each time).
I haven't read any of Bittman's other books, so I can't recommend them, but I like his columns because they feature very few ingredients, usually easy to find, and are normally very quickly put together.
Such is the case for this spicy flatbread which requires only a few minutes (besides the actual roasting and baking). I chopped the cauliflower by hand but a food processor can certainly be used. I served the bread with a simple papaya salad (sliced papaya, cilantro and lime juice), whose sweet-sour coolness provided a welcome counterpoint to the heat of the curry.


  • 1 medium cauliflower (mine weighed 780 g), trimmed and finely chopped
  • 4 tbps peanut, grapeseed, corn or olive oil (I used olive)
  • salt & ground pepper
  • 170 g whole wheat flour
  • 345 light coconut milk (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp (4 g) of salt

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F/204 C. Put cauliflower in a roasting pan, drizzle with a tablespoon of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. Spread into a single layer and roast until tender and nicely browned, tossing with a spatula halfway through for a total of 15 to 20 minutes (my roasting pan wasn't large enough to spread the cauliflower into a single layer, so I baked it about 10 minutes longer, tossing a couple of times. It was tender when I took it out but not brown)
  2. While cauliflower roasts, put flour into a bowl. Add 1 tsp of salt and the coconut milk, whisking to eliminate lumps. Batter should be about the consistency of pancake batter. Set aside
  3. When cauliflower is finished roasting, sprinkle it with curry powder and toss
  4. Pour remaining oil in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet and put in oven . Wait a couple of minutes for oil to get hot, then carefull remove pan, pour in batter, spread it into an even layer and return skillet to oven.
  5. Bake for about an hour, or until flatbread is well browned, firm and crisp around the edges. (It will release easily from pan when done, says Bittman. In my experience, it wasn't that easy but then I used a Le Creuset cast iron skillet and I always find they stick a little bit). Let it rest for a couple of minutes before turning it out and cutting into wedges.
The recipe yields 4 to 8 appetizer servings but we had it as a main course, with the papaya salad. There was enough for 3.

    1 comment:

    1. Mmmm, that's an interesting and non conventional way to eat cauliflower. Thanks MC!



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