This dish was a real statement,  ‘Vegetarian food is not boring’.  My Husband raved about this meal, not for the fact that there was zero meat in it, but for the fact that you really didn’t notice its absence.  Packed full of spices and goodness, it was a real assault on the taste buds and the fried cashew & curry leaf topping added another layer of complexity to the meal, ensuring it delivered on every level.

To stretch this meal a little further you could always add some steamed basmati rice.


Prep time:  25  minutes            Cooking time:  1 Hour                 $$  Medium Budget


Serves 4 (with leftovers)


1 medium cauliflower, sliced into 1.5cm thick ‘Steaks’

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 tsp of turmeric

1/2 tsp of ground cumin

1/2 tsp of ground coriander

1/2 tsp of chilli powder

A good pinch of sea salt

Coriander leaves and green chilli slices for garnish

Greek yoghurt and pappadums to serve


For the Dahl:


1 tbs of Ghee*

1 brown onion, peeled, halved and sliced top to bottom

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

3cm piece of ginger, finely minced

1 long green chilli, finely chopped

2 cups of yellow split peas, rinsed and drained

3 large ripe tomatoes

1 sprig of curry leaves

1 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp of ground cumin

1 tsp of ground coriander

1/2 tsp of chilli powder

1 tsp of garam masala

500ml of vegetable stock

1/2 – 1 litre of water

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 cup of roughly chopped coriander

Sea salt and cracked pepper


For the Cashew & Curry Leaf topping:


1 tbs of Ghee

1/2 a cup of raw cashews, roughly chopped

2 sprigs of curry leaves, stalks discarded

2 tsp of mustard seeds

1 tsp of fennel seeds


Preheat the oven to 180°C.


Heat a large frypan and add the ghee.  When melted and bubbling, fry the onion for approximately 5 minutes or until golden.  Add the garlic, ginger, fresh chilli and curry leaves and fry for  a couple of minutes until aromatic.  Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli powder and garam masala and stir into the mixture before adding the tomatoes and lemon juice, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to lift all of the flavour.  Place the split peas, stock and 500ml of water to the pan, season with a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the peas to absorb the liquid for approximately 45 minutes or until the peas are tender, topping up with extra water if you think the mixture is getting too dry.  Stir through the coriander leaves just before serving.


For the cauliflower, combine the spices and oil in a small bowl and season with salt before stirring to combine.  Place the cauliflower ‘Steaks’ on a lined baking tray and drizzle over the spice mix.  You may need to get your hands a little dirty to make sure they are well coated.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and tender.


To make the cashew topping, melt the ghee in a small frypan.  Add the cashews and when they begin to change colour add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves.  It may spit a little so be careful.  Fry for a further 60 seconds or until the curry leaves are crispy and the mustard seeds are just starting to pop.


To serve, divide the cauliflower between four serving plates, to one side.  Place a generous helping of the Dahl on each plate and top with a spoonful of greek yoghurt, over the cauliflower and Dahl.  Use a spoon to sprinkle over the cashew mixture and scatter over some coriander leaves and thin slices of green chilli.  Serve with pappadums.


*Ghee is a clarified butter that can be found in the Asian section of the supermarket.  You can substitute equal parts butter and oil but the Ghee really does give a certain level of Indian authenticity.  It keeps really well in the fridge.


Leftover curry leaves last quite a while so you may want to try this recipe: