In the scenic coastal city of Mangalore in south India, bezule is a popular street snack that's usually made with chicken. Here's a food with immense visual and palate appeal: it's an appetizing, bright red with a spicy, lemony flavor to match. My vegan Cauliflower Bezule is just as enticing, and it is versatile too: eat it for a snack or as a side dish for dal and rice. You won't go wrong.
Rasika, an immensely popular Indian restaurant here in D.C., offers a cauliflower bezule on its menu, but it's not something I can eat because it contains egg and is therefore not vegan. Also, the Rasika version -- like all bezules vegetarian and otherwise -- is deep fried, which, in my kitchen, is okay for a rainy day, but not every day. So when I made this recipe, I baked the cauliflower instead of deep frying it: an easy choice because cauliflower roasts up beautifully. Also, the cauliflower florets, after frying (or roasting, in my case) are stir-fried once more with curry leaves, so that helps further with making this dish fresh and flavorful. The deep frying is completely dispensable.
For this bezule, make sure your cauliflower florets are chunky enough that they'll hold up to the roasting and the sauteeing. Making the cauliflower pieces too small will end up in mushy cauliflower and you definitely don't want that. Besides the cauliflower, the ingredient dish is impeccably simple: cornstarch, ginger, garlic, paprika, and a few curry leaves.
Thanks for all of your lovely messages and well wishes and hugs for our new kid, Leo. He sends a friendly "woof" and a wag of his jaunty tail back at you. By now he has made himself completely comfortable in his new home. He is picking up on potty training rather well, already reducing the need to crate him when he's in the house. On Sunday and Monday, the first two days after he came home, he was terrified about the stairs in the house and to the backyard, having never encountered steps before, but with Lily encouraging him, he's already mastered those and runs up and down and around the house and backyard all day, his tail up high and wagging. His latest project is to try and climb into our bed which is rather high -- something we aren't encouraging him to do because he isn't potty trained yet. But I have a feeling we are in a losing battle. 🙂
- 1 medium head cauliflower, separated into florets
- 1 heaping tsp paprika You can use less but the paprika gives the bezule an authentic red color, that's usually achieved with food coloring.
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 tbsp flaxmeal
- 1 cup water
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ inch piece ginger, chopped
- Oil to spray baking sheet
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 green chili pepper, like jalapeno, minced optional
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
- Place the flaxmeal, cornstarch, paprika, ginger and garlic along with the water and salt to taste in a blender and blend into a very smooth paste.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a very large bowl and pour the cornstarch mixture over the florets. Using your hands or a spoon, toss the cauliflower in the mixture until thoroughly coated. Let it stand 20 minutes for the flavors to penetrate the cauliflower.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with oil. Place the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake the cauliflower for 20 to 25 minutes or until the florets are tender enough but have a slight bite. You don't want the florets to be too soft.
- In a large wok, heat the coconut oil.
- Add the mustard seeds and when they sputter, add the curry leaves and green chili pepper, if using. Saute for a minute.
- Add the roasted cauliflower florets and toss in the mustard oil. Squeeze on the lemon juice and mix. Turn off the heat.
- I love to serve this with some sliced raw onion on the side.
Hungry for more cauliflower?