Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 6, 2010: Cauliflower couscous

The last vegetable standing from our previous delivery was a half-head of cauliflower and I knew just what I wanted to make of it - cauliflower couscous.  This was an intriguing technique I'd seen on Cook Almost Anything this year.  All it involves is pulsing cauliflower chunks in a food processor until they resemble couscous, then gently pan-frying them with some spices until tender.  Both Haalo and I used butter for frying, but I think that vegetable oil would be just as effective (and thus I'm appending the vegan-friendly tag).  A bit of curry powder and some roughly chopped roasted almonds add extra texture and flavour; they're also ripe for substitution with other spices and couscous goodies you favour.  It's a flexible and easy-to-prep side dish that I'd definitely make again.

We paired the 'couscous' with these battered tempeh cakes, which we bought frozen from an Asian grocery.  They were slabs of salty-savoury wonderful and, in my opinion, had a faux-chicken quality to them (especially when I ate a leftover one cold for lunch the following day).  The tempeh is sliced quite thinly and, what with the batter and extra flavours, this product could be a good introduction to the fermented soybean cake for sceptics (I was once like you!).  I heated these by frying them in a smidge of oil but they came out a little greasy, so I'll try baking them in future.

A dab of relish on the tempeh cake completed the meal.  This was the last of Jane's really-rather-incredible vintage 2007 tomato relish, which I won in last year's lab culinary competition.  I was sorry to see the end of it.


  1. Ha! I actually made a similar dish last night. Call it cauliflower rice or couscous, it was fab. I paired it with lots of sumac. Love!

  2. Which Asian supermarket did you get the tempeh from, I have never seen it before & I think I need to track it down!

  3. Oh how interesting! I've been looking for more interesting things to do with cauliflower recently (and trying things like cauliflower steak!) so this is a must try!

  4. They both look great, I don't suppose the tempeh is gluten free?

  5. Hello! I've been reading this blog for some time.
    never thought you can run into tempe mendoan in an Australian shop! they're a special kind of tempe and traditionally eaten with sweet soy sauce and sliced bird-eye chilis.
    I admit, they DO get a bit greasy when fried, although that's part of the thrill for me


  6. I have heard of it called cauliflower rice - and I can highly recommend this with purple cauli if you get the chance!

    Have never seen this tempeh mendoan before - but they sell battered tempeh in collingwood fish and chip shop (shark paradise) - this one sounds a little more flavoured though - must look out for them when next at an Asian grocery

  7. this is a great idea... must put in my list of things to cook.

  8. How funny, Anh! Bet it's great with sumac... I'm looking forward to experimenting with other flavours.

    Vicki, I think I bought it from the one at Barkly Square in Brunswick.

    Celeste, I had never heard of cauliflower steak before (I just looked it up) - did you like it?

    Yes indeedy, Lisa. :-)

    K, I just squinted at a zoom-in of the tempeh photo and I'm pretty sure it says wheat flour. :-(

    Welcome, thoughtsthatdance! I looked up Tempeh Mendoan online as I wrote this and was interested in its preparation, which I gather is different from other kinds of tempeh. I can only imagine how great it is straight out of the hot oil, then sprinkled with soy sauce and chilli. :-)

    Johanna, it must be pretty in purple! That fish'n'chip shop has been on our hit list since you blogged it.

    Penny & Cherrie Pie - I'd certainly recommend it, it's very easy!