‘It’s the kind of dish you could serve to your friends and have an air of ‘I got my sh** together’ about it…’
So I wanted to turn a normal fish supper into a South Asian feast. I mean, who doesn’t? I’m always hoodwinked by Asian influence when I’m cooking – particularly when I’m looking to be mindful of my waistline. There’s something about cooking with fish, which is so light and delicate in texture, which makes me want to disturb it with gutsy Asian flavours. It’s like a child wanting to stamp on a soft sandcastle. Except it’s delicious.
I like when everything is put in an oven. I feel safe. For as much as I love cooking, anything that requires too much manhandling loses my interest very quickly. We all have things to do, right? So when everything is shoved into one oven, you feel great. This is one of those recipes. Yes the cauliflower needs to be broken down into small ‘rice like’ particles, but that’s not to say you couldn’t just cut up the cauliflower and roast it in its normal shape.
As the cauliflower cooks in all of its curried glory, it begins to take on a real smoky depth that you don’t get when you boil it. It’s the kind of dish you could serve to your friends and have an air of ‘I got my sh** together’ about it, when really all you’ve done is spice up some ingredients and throw them in an oven.
Preheat the oven to 200C. In a pestle and mortar, combine a ¼ teaspoon of gloves, a teaspoon of turmeric and a small pinch of cinnamon. Take two of three cardamom pods and bash so that it releases its small black seeds and tip in with the other spices. Grind these spices together before grabbing a nice piece of haddock – or any other white fish – and rubbing this into its pearly flesh. It will take on a real beautiful golden yellow colour. Place on a baking tray and leave to one side.
Remove the leaves from a head of cauliflower and slice it into smaller florets. Toss into a food processor and blitz down into ‘rice’. Pour this into a large oven dish before tossing in a handful of cashew nuts. Drizzle over some chili oil. Scatter over half a tablespoon of curry powder and a sprinkle of sea salt before shaking the pan so that the cauliflower and cashews are coated in the powder.
Slide the cauliflower in the oven for 30 minutes but after 10 minutes, slide the fish into the oven to join the cauliflower for the last 20 minutes. Remove and serve.
It’s kind of bizarre that this recipe has no carbohydrate with it or even a real grain. Just fish and cauliflower, the whole thing is so virtuous and good for you whilst tasting as though you’ve had a proper fish supper with real Sri Lankan influence. And if you have any fish leftover – which 9/10 you won’ – it’s fantastic thrown in a rap along with a few choice lettuce leaves and a drizzle of hot sauce.
But that’s when I cooked this for just me. When I cooked it for somebody else, there were no leftovers.