Cauliflower with Black Mustard Seeds and Turmeric

In season: J F M A M J J A S O N D

10-15 minutes cooking and preparation time
Serves 4 as a side

This is a quick and simple recipe and makes the best of cauliflower’s wonderful ability to be delicious both raw, cooked, cold and hot. This dish can be served warm as a salad, cold with yoghurt and mint dressing in a pitta bread or hot as an accompaniment to a curry. You can also replace the cauliflower with leftover cooked new potatoes, or broccoli. The inner, leaves of cauliflower are also marvellous to eat, so long as they are not too tough. The way to test this is to snap each leaf lengthways across the stem until you get a nice clean break without any stringiness. You can use all the leaves after this one, either in this dish, or as a lovely addition to coleslaw or winter salads.

It’s useful to have all your ingredients measured out and ready to go, before you start as this recipe is fairly fast paced. If you have a small helper, they will really enjoy measuring out and preparing the ingredients for you. If you forget something, don’t panic. Just remove the pan from the heat whilst you locate the missing item!


1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely grated
2 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
red chilli-to taste, white membrane removed and sliced finely
1 tbsp water
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper-to taste

1/. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and throw in the cauliflower florets. Cook for approximately 2 minutes then drain and allow to cool and dry slightly in strainer.

2/. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, quickly add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and chilli and stir once. Add the cauliflower and stir well to cover the florets in the bright yellow spice mix.

3/. Toss in the tbsp of water, season with salt and pepper, and cover with a lid, or even a large plate, for 2-3 minutes. If the cauliflower starts to stick, stir gently and add a little water if you really have to, although this should be quite a dry dish.

4/. Just check and adjust the seasoning and it’s ready! I like cauliflower to still have a little bite but to be tender rather than crunchy. If you like it more or less cooked, adjust the cooking times to suit you, but it really is better when al-dente, so try it at least once!

Why not try…
Using fennel seeds and smoked paprika in place of the turmeric and mustard seeds and leave out the ginger. You could even add a bit of chorizo or spicy sausage into the pan before any other ingredients…
Maybe you have some variations of your own? Do let us know!