Quick Recipe: Tandoori Cauliflower Bites with Tzatziki Sauce
By: Srikala Appana
One of the most popular complaints about Indian food is how carb-heavy it is, so I always love finding ways to cut back on the carbs without cutting the flavor. Having grown up vegetarian, it is also ingrained in me to find creative ways to enjoy the dishes non-vegetarians rave about. I didn’t even know tandoori masala is vegetarian until I moved out of my parents’ house. My mom never bought it because as an Indian, you say tandoori; I say chicken.
These tandoori cauliflower bites are a genius way to get your vegetable intake of the day, fulfill your Indian food cravings with the explosion of spices in the masala, and eat healthily! For me, this is a whole meal if I make 1 head of cauliflower, but you can also serve it in bite sizes as an appetizer.
Ingredients for Cauliflower Bites:
1 head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
2 tablespoons of dry tandoori masala
¼ cup Greek yogurt
Salt to adjust
Juice from 1 lime
Olive oil cooking spray
Ingredients for Tzatziki Sauce:
1 ½ cups Greek yogurt
1 cup finely chopped or grated cucumber
Juice from 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh dill leaves
Directions for Cauliflower Bites:
In a mixing bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of dry tandoori masala, salt (up to your discretion; depends largely on the size of the cauliflower and brand of tandoori masala since it may contain salt), 2 tablespoons of dry tandoori masala, and the juice from ½ a lime.
When the marinade is well combined, add the cauliflower and mix well. It is easiest to use clean hands to mix to make sure the marinade gets into the crevices of the florets.
Store the cauliflower in the fridge at least 1 hour (but preferably overnight).
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400F.
Spray a baking sheet with olive oil, and place the florets in a single layer using tongs. It is important to not pour the marinade over the pieces (you will have a pool of liquid at the bottom of the bowl) as this will prevent the cauliflower from roasting.
Spray the cauliflower bites with olive oil, making sure they are coated. If you are not using spraying oil, it is best to use a pastry brush to coat each piece with oil.
Bake for 40 minutes, gently flipping the florets halfway.
Serve immediately, with a squeeze of lime on top and tzatziki sauce on the side.
Directions for Tzatziki Sauce:
Mix 1 ½ cups Greek yogurt, juice from 1 lime, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon fresh dill leaves.
Once the ingredients are mixed well, add and stir in 1 cup finely chopped or grated cucumber,
Chill until ready to eat.
When using a pastry brush and coating the cauliflower with oil will use more oil than the spray method. There is also a risk of the pieces baking more and roasting less; however, the taste will not be compromised. Baking tends to soften the foods and requires lower temperatures and more fluid in the dish; roasting requires higher temperatures and a dryness to the dish is preferred.
Though it may seem like there is not enough marinade, refrain from using more yogurt than necessary. The ¼ cup measurement is tailored to result in the least amount of fluid release in the marinating process.