a pinch of warmth: curried cauliflower with bacon and onion

by Chen

It was not easy to see why in one Good Eats episode, The Caul of the Flower, Alton Brown suggested that no one in this world understood cauliflower better than Indians. I thought it was the magic of curry.

Cauliflower is not unfamiliar to me; I actually had a lot of cauliflowers until its cousin, broccoli, was introduced to my hometown in the late 1990s. That was simply because my mom was a big fan of cauliflowers with some sliced pork braised in soy sauce.

I know that to some people, cauliflower tastes relatively bland. However, it has a very subtle sweetness that stands out well after being cooked for a longer time. This does not apply to broccoli, which gets much less attractive if being a little bit over-cooked. By adding curry and, of course, the other two wonderful things–bacon and onion, the cauliflower is completely dressed up–not plain anymore. I consider the curry to be the soy sauce and bacon as the sliced pork in my mom’s Chinese version, of which I could finish a whole bowl without hesitance.

curried cauliflower with bacon and onion
Makes 4 servings

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size chunks
4 slices bacon (center-cut preferred), sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp curry powder

In a skillet that is large enough to hold all these ingredients, brown the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon bites from the grease using a slotted spoon. Discard the grease but do NOT wipe the skillet.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onion and garlic and a big pinch of salt. Stir and cook until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower chunks and stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes or until the edges start to turn brown. Add the chicken stock and curry powder. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, uncover the skillet and cook for 10 more minutes or until the vegetables are very tender. Adjust the salt to taste. Stir the cooked bacon into the mixture until well combined and heated through. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.