I love the flavors in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking - the ingredients and spice combinations make those cusines far and away my favorite to veganize. As you well know I LOVE a good, hearty curry but now that it's summer I have been dreaming of lighter fare with a spicy edge - cue my dream of making a smokey, crispy, kicked up cauliflower tandoori.
Tandoori cooked food (usually chicken) actually gets it's name from the cooking apparatus it is prepared in, a tandoor oven (which I don't have). But the spice flavoring itself is a tangy, spicy, savory blend of ginger, tamarind, garlic, coriander, cumin and a ton of paprika which gives it a vibrant red color. To me, Tandoori spice has a smokey BBQ flavor that is quite unique and totally addictive. You can certainly go through the trouble of making tandoori paste on your own (a recipe is easily googled) but I used this prepared brand for ease and convenience - because, let's face it, when I am having a craving for something I am super impatient.
When first testing this recipe I went into my cupboard to grab regular flour only to realize I was totally out. I had bought a bit of chic pea flour a while back and when I saw it wayyyy in the back collecting dust I thought "how bad could it be?", but what I should have asked is, "WHY HAVEN'T YOU USED CHIC PEA FLOUR TO MAKE BATTER ALL ALONG?!". Not only is this option gluten free and more nutrient dense but in my opinion chic pea flour offers a richer mouth feel and flavor profile compared to wheat flour Traditionally, tandoori chicken is marinated in a combination of spices + yogurt to keep it super moist and I feel as if the chic pea flour helps to mimic this better than regular wheat flour. I also choose not to double bake my wings (which is usually the way of things with recipes like these) but rather mix the seasonings directly into the batter - it adds to the addictive, moist on the inside, crispy on the outside texture.
Pair these Cauliflower wings with my fresh, protein packed lentil salad and you have a summer meal that will leave everyone fully satisfied and begging for the recipe.
Serves: 4-6 • Prep Time: 15 minutes • Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 cup chic pea flour
- 1.5 cups unsweetened plain soy or almond milk
- 2/3 cup tandoori paste OR tandoor dry spice to taste
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup (to ensure browning and provide a hint of sweetness)
- 1 tsp. salt & pepper
- OPTIONAL: I also added a bit of garam masala spice and garlic powder to kick up the flavor a bit
1. Preheat your oven to 425*F and cut the cauliflower similar sized into florets. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In either a large ziplock bag or bowl whisk together the rest of the ingredients to make your batter. The batter should have the consistency of a conventional pancake batter - thick enough to coat the florets. Taste and adjust seasonings.
3. Add all the florets to the bag or bowl and mix well to coat evenly. Don't worry if some of your cauliflower breaks apart in the process.
4. One-by-one, remove each floret from the batter and give it a shake to remove the excess batter and distribute them in one even layer on the baking sheet. There may be some left over batter, but thats okay - just discard OR save to make more tandoori cauliflower tomorrow.
5. Bake the cauliflower in the oven for 30 minutes. You can remove the florets half way through the process and flip them to ensure even browning but it's not necessary.
6. Serve hot, room temp or cold!
NOTE: I don't own a grill but would be willing to bet that finishing these on one would be a great way to get that traditional tandoori 'char'. I'd get it super hot and spray the grill or grill pan with some cooking oil - I'd place the baked cauliflower on the grates for just a minute to get some charred browning, using tongs to get some even color. I'd imagine that the batter may stick just a little but it would be worth it. Cue me scrolling grill pans on Amazon for 2 hours.
- 2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (apx. 1 cup dry)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 large cucumber, diced
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 1 large red pepper, roasted or fresh
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped
- handful fresh mint
- handful fresh parsley
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp. garam masala spice
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 rounded tbsp. maple syrup or agave nectar
1. Cook your lentils according to package directions and allow to cool fully. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Chop all other ingredients and add to the lentils. Mix to combine.
3. Make the dressing in a food processor by pulsing all ingredients until well combined. Toss over the salad and allow to chill for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to marry. *I left it overnight*