Perhaps it’s my love of the writings of Constance Spry and Margaret Costa, and the nostalgic world their writings conjure; perhaps it’s my unfettered obsession with mango chutney and any foods I can ladle it on or in (bhajis, devilled eggs, sandwiches … the list goes on); or perhaps it’s just my passion for spices and the way they transport me to far-off lands. No matter. The subtle spicing of “coronation” anything, and the exuberant, sprightly panicle of garlic, lemon, fresh herbs, coriander seeds and pomegranate, make this a blissful midweek dinner.
You will need a hot grill for this, or oven roast the cauliflower at the highest setting until it is blackened and caramelised in places.
Prep 30 min
Cook 10 min
3 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
Salt and pepper
1 large head cauliflower
1 tbsp mild curry powder
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
175ml Greek yoghurt
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 heaped tbsp mango chutney
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 handful mint leaves, chopped
1 big handful coriander leaves, chopped
30g toasted flaked almonds
Seeds from ½ pomegranate
Put the couscous in a bowl, cover with 200ml boiling water and scatter in a teaspoon of the coriander seeds and lots of salt and pepper. Stir once, cover and leave for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the grill. Break the cauliflower into florets, discarding the tough outer leaves, but keeping the young ones, then put it on a lined oven tray. Mix the curry powder, remaining coriander seeds, two tablespoons of oil and 75ml yoghurt, season generously, then rub all over the florets until well coated. Grill for five to eight minutes, until the cauliflower is charred at the edges and just tender in the middle.
Whisk the remaining yoghurt, the garlic, mango chutney and half the lemon juice in a bowl or jam jar. Uncover the couscous, and check that it is tender (if not, add another 50ml boiling water and steep for five minutes more). Run a fork through it, then fold in the last of the olive oil, the lemon juice and all but a sprinkling of the herbs.
Once the cauliflower is cooked, toss it in the yoghurt sauce and check the seasoning. Transfer the couscous to a platters, top with the cauliflower and sauce, sprinkle over the almonds, pomegranate seeds and a final scattering of herbs, and let the hordes tuck in.
If you want to avoid dairy, try coconut yoghurt or make a cashew nut “cream” with soaked cashews. The marinade is also delicious on chicken legs slow-roasted at about 170C until golden and crisp-skinned.