I had only eggs and a head of cauliflower in the fridge and I had to get dinner on the table.
There was not enough cauliflower to roast, something I like to do
when I need an Asian vegetable - I would roast it after it has been
rubbed with chilli powder, salt and oil - to supplement the main
course; and I had only four eggs.
What could I do with these two ingredients?
Then, I remembered what a friend had for dinner at his aunt's house.
She had cooked a cauliflower omelette and served it with rice, a dish perfect for a simple family meal.
So I decided to try making a version of it.
I like cauliflower because it is an extremely versatile vegetable.
You can eat it raw in a salad and, of course, stir-fry it, as the Chinese do in a mixed vegetable dish.
It has also recently become a culinary favourite, thanks to the
current low-carbohydrate craze, replacing potatoes in mash, wheat in
couscous and even rice in fried rice.
You chop it finely, then blanch it in water to get a couscous-like
texture. To get your "rice", do a coarser version, before proceeding to
cook it as you would fry rice.
As for the cauliflower mash, just boil the vegetable till it is soft and mash it up. It is as easy as that.
But aside from its trendy status, the humble cauliflower is truly a
healthy vegetable. As it belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family,
it offers powerful antioxidants, loads of fibre and all sorts of
You cannot find another vegetable group that is as high in vitamin A
carotenoids, vitamin C, folic acid and fibre as the cruciferous
The cauliflower also contains several phytochemicals that protect us against cancer and are generally beneficial to health.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute - a research institute,
located at Oregon State University in the United States, with a focus
on health maintenance - you need to eat at least five cups of
cauliflower a week to obtain such benefits.
In this recipe, I dust the cauliflower with a bit of turmeric and chilli powder, giving it both taste and colour.
Incidentally, the combination is more than cosmetic: Cauliflower and
turmeric, when eaten together, have shown potential for the treatment
and prevention of prostate cancer, according to researchers at Rutgers
University in the US.
You would not have known what a powerhouse of nutrients it is, just by looking at this simple home-cooked dish.
The taste also far surpasses its humble appearance: I made sure not
to overcook the cauliflower, therefore retaining its crunch; while the
eggs give a welcome richness to the dish.
It has now become one of my standby recipes and not just for emergencies.
Cauliflower omelette (Serves two or three, as part of a meal)
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 medium head of cauliflower, to make up two cups of florets, broken into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp chopped garlic
A pinch of salt
1 tsp chilli powder
A dash of turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parsley or other herbs
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add the chopped garlic, then the cauliflower florets. Season with a
pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables start to turn golden brown,
about five minutes or less.
Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl, add the teaspoon of salt and pepper. Beat with a fork until the mixture is just blended.
Sprinkle the vegetables with turmeric and chilli powder, and cook for two more minutes.
Pour in the beaten egg. Tilt and rotate the pan to spread the eggs evenly over the bottom.
Lower the heat, cover and cook for two minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, tilt and slide the omelette onto a plate.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley. Serve with brown rice, if desired.