Cauliflower works so well in curries – its amiable flavour begs to have a bit of spice thrown at it. That said, this is a gently spiced dish – with the lemon, it’s more aromatic than blow-your-head-off with chillies. It’s ideal for a light lunch in the last throes of summer – here in the UK, at least – or enjoy it as a side dish with something more substantial. I often throw cashews into Indian-influenced rice dishes, but here the chickpeas are roasted until firm and nutty – so make a good substitute; ideal for those who avoid nuts. And they meld beautifully with the citrusy grains – wholegrain basmati rice works a treat, texture wise, especially – the sweet onion and aromatic cauliflower.
Make the chilli-lemon oil first as the longer it has to infuse, the better. Any extra can be stored in the fridge for about a week or so.
50 ml olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves – crushed
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
Oil for roasting (I use 1 tsp coconut oil)
1-2 tsps cumin seeds/powder
1 tsps chilli flakes (optional)
2 large white onions
Oil for frying (I use 1 tbsp olive oil)
Coriander to garnish
Preheat the oven 200 (fan)/220 (conventional)
- With a potato peeler, shave off big strips of rind from one of the lemons. Slit the chilli in half so the membrane and seeds are exposed. Pour the oil into a small saucepan and add the lemon rind and chilli. Heat very slowly until just below boiling point, the chilli and lemon will sizzle but this is fine. Take off the heat and leave to one side.
- Slice the cauliflower into even-sized florets and boil in hot water for 5 minutes whilst you heat the roasting oil up in the oven in a large baking dish. Drain and transfer the cauliflower florets into the dish, sprinkle over the cumin and chilli flakes and give a quick stir. Roast for 30-40 minutes until they turn a golden brown.
- Half way through, give another stir to make sure the florets are roasting evenly and add the rinsed and well-drained can of chickpeas.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice in a large saucepan according to packet instructions and make the chilli-lemon dressing. Remove the chilli and lemon peel from the oil and whisk in the juice of the 2 lemons, crushed garlic, apple cider vinegar and salt and black pepper.
- Dice the onions and fry until they turn a deep golden brown.
- When the rice is cooked, drain the water, return to the saucepan and pour the chilli-lemon dressing over. Pop the lid back on and leave to absorb.
- When you are ready to serve, stir the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas into the rice, along with the fried onion. Scatter over the coriander leaves. If you like a bit of extra heat, you can also garnish with the shredded, discarded chilli from the dressing.