A Cook's Plot

Side Dishes & Canapes

Spicy cauliflower

A fabulous side dish that goes with everything

This has become my new favourite winter side dish. Much more than the sum of its parts, it goes with everything and tastes fancy enough to serve with a posh dinner but is equally at home as a midday snack. I’ve used choi sum, a Chinese leafy vegetable that looks like a cross between spinach and pak choi but has its own deliciously distinct taste. You can get it in Sainsbury’s but if you can’t find it, spinach or pak choi make good substitutes. To keep the fat content right down I usually use fat-free fromage frais when I make this but it does have the annoying tendency of all low-fat dairy products to split when it’s heated - that doesn’t affect the flavour, but it can make the sauce look a little grainy so you may prefer to use ordinary fromage frais (which, to be fair, is quite low in fat anyway).


Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium cauliflower, broken into large florets
  • 1 head choi sum
  • 1-2 tsp hot curry powder
  • 8 tbsp fromage frais
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard


Heat the oil in a large pan then fry the cauliflower florets until they just start to brown. Separate the choi sum stalks from the leaves, reserve the leaves, then chop the stalks and add to the pan with half the curry powder. Fry for 1 minute then add 4 tbsp water, cover and cook over a medium heat until the veg is just tender. Add the choi sum leaves and turn off the heat. Meanwhile, dry-fry the rest of the curry powder in a small pan for 1 minute, add the fromage frais and mustard and heat through. Season well and pour the sauce over the veg.

A Cook's Plot Tip

Browning the cauliflower at the start is important as it really brings out its flavour, and one teaspoon of hot curry powder is just enough to give the finished dish a hint of heat - but add more if you like things to be super-spicy!

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