Another delectable vegan recipe from steve clarke

Cauliflowers are really cheap at the moment, and on my way to the boat, I picked up a football sized one that would barely fit into a  carrier bag. 

The weather has turned wintery, and I’ve decided to start to run down and replenish the stock of tins in my cupboards. The following recipe works especially well with chickpeas, but I hadn’t got any in tins, and hadn’t got the time to soak them. I used kidney beans instead. Worryingly, I’ve got 16 tins of them on my boat.. it must be some unconscious siege mentality. I’ll use them all up, and create space for more..


A masala is a spice mix, made and ground from fresh spices, toasted in a wok, and added as a base to curries.

This is my basic masala mix. You can keep it for a couple of weeks in an air tight jar – i always make plenty at a time, so I’ve always got some on the go. The beauty of getting to grips with a basic masala is that you can personalise it to your own taste.There are plenty of other spices that you can add, or subtract depending on your palette. To make a masala more suited to Sri Lankan dishes, I add cinnamon, and fresh chilli, to make a slightly wet paste. It’s up to you, and it’s fun to experiment.

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 4 dried chillies (seeds in, or out dependent on your tolerance)
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 4 cardamom pods.

Toast all of the above in a dry wok, and once it starts to smoke, remove from the heat, and grind up to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.


  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 2 large brown onions
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tins of kidney beans
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Organic coconut oil
  • 1 lemon

Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for about 7 minutes. Make sure it’s all cooked and then drain in a colander.

Take your largest pan, and heat up a desert spoon of coconut oil, until it begins to bubble. Don’t allow it to go to the smoke point. Add the onions and garlic, and fry until they become translucent. Once this occurs, add approx half the masala mix, and stir well, to coat all the cauliflower in the spice mix. (the other half of the masala mix will keep for another meal) Place the lid on the pan, and reduce the heat.

Rinse the two tins of kidney beans in a colander, and throw these into the pan, along with the chopped tomatoes. Give everything a good stir, and leave covered on a low heat for approx 30 mins. I’m always tempted to taste my food, all the way through the process of cooking. It might be that you want to add salt (try melting a teaspoon of marmite into the sauce) or if it’s not hot enough split a couple of fresh chillies and add them to the pan.

Squeeze the lemon juice all over, and leave to cool. I always find anything using a spice blend tastes better on reheating.. I think it must activate the spices anew.. If you are really organised, cook your curry dishes the day before you intend to eat them

- Archive post from Steve Clarke's blog