Spiced cauliflower with toasted coconut and red lentils

This elegant dish would not look out of place in a top restaurant. Glynn Purnell shows you how to put it all together.

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For the coriander oil

For the pickled carrots

For the spiced cauliflower

For the red lentils

For the coconut sauce

For the toasted coconut

  • 1 fresh coconut, split open, flesh thinly sliced using a mandoline


  1. For the coriander oil, bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Prepare a bowl of ice-cold water. Add the coriander to the pan and blanch for 10 seconds, then drain and add to the cold water.

  2. Drain the blanched coriander and put it in a jug. Add the vegetable oil and blend together using a hand-held blender. Continue to blend for about five minutes, or until very finely chopped. Cover and chill in the fridge for 24 hours.

  3. For the pickled carrots, put the sliced carrots in a bowl. In a saucepan, warm the sugar, vinegar and oil over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved in the liquid. Stir in the soy sauce until combined. Pour the mixture over the carrots, then cover and set aside.

  4. For the spiced cauliflower, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the curry powder, all the spices and the dried chilli flakes. Stir well and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.

  5. Add the cauliflower florets and enough vegetable stock to cover them. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside so that the cauliflower pieces cool in the stock.

  6. For the red lentils, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Stir in the curry powder until well combined.

  7. Add the lentils and cover with the hot stock, then bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain well, then stir through the red chilli, coriander and lime juice. Keep warm.

  8. For the coconut sauce, bring the coconut milk and lime leaf to the boil in a small saucepan. Continue to boil until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Remove any scum that floats to the surface during cooking.

  9. Remove the lime leaf from the pan, then stir in the sliced mint and a pinch of salt.

  10. For the toasted coconut, preheat the oven to 170C/340F/Gas 3½. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Arrange the coconut slices onto the baking tray and bake in the oven until pale golden-brown.

  11. Just before serving, drain the cooled cauliflower florets. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, add the cauliflower and fry until golden-brown. Squeeze over a little lime juice.

  12. Strain the coriander oil through a fine-mesh sieve before serving.

  13. To serve, spoon a portion of lentils into the centre of each serving plate. Arrange a few roasted cauliflower florets on top. Garnish with the pickled carrots, toasted coconut and a sprig of coriander, then drizzle over a little of the coconut sauce and coriander oil.

Recommended wine

Cave de Beblenheim Pinot Gris Reserve 2012/2013, Palataia Pinot Grigio 2012/13 Pfalz, Germany or Stella Alpina Pinot Grigio 2013 Alto Adige.