Celebrate, elevate and masticate those vegetables! Making food at home, keeping ingredients local and eating in season all helps reduce the carbon footprint of the food we eat, one of many lessons to learn in eco-chef Tom Hunt’s new book, The Natural Cook. Fighting food waste and hunger is the name of Hunt’s game, so if you’re on his team, pick up a copy and prepare to redefine DIY.
These are sumptuous and simple to make. They serve parathas for breakfast in India with yogurt and pickled vegetables or mango chutney, and I suggest you do the same. Excellent on a cold day.
Storage: The cauliflower “rice” will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 days. Make and eat the parathas straightaway for best results, but they will also keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Reheat them, wrapped in foil, in an oven preheated to 350ºF, 5 to 10 minutes.
Raw cauliflower rice
- 1/2 small cauliflower (about 7 ounces)
- 6 mint leaves
- juice of 1/4 lemon
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of cumin seeds
- 1 cup wholemeal flour, plus more to dust
- 1 cup spelt or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the cauliflower rice
Pull the leaves from the cauliflower and finely chop the most tender of them along with the mint. (Compost the thicker leaves.) Break the cauliflower into small florets and cut the stalk into pieces (peel it only if the skin is tough).
Blend the cauliflower, in batches, to a fine ricelike consistency. Dress with the lemon juice and extra-virgin oil, then season with the cumin and some salt and stir in the chopped leaves. Serve as part of a lunch or meze, with flatbread and other vegetable salads.
For the parathas
Mix together the flours, extra-virgin oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ cup water and knead into a dough. Cover and set aside 20 minutes to rest.
Split the dough into 6 balls. Place some wholemeal flour in a bowl, then dip a ball of dough into the flour and roll it around so it is covered in flour. Roll the dough to roughly a 3-inch disc. Place 1 heaped tablespoon raw cauliflower “rice” in the middle and bring the sides of the dough up around the cauliflower. Seal closed by pressing the dough together once again, creating a dough ball. Dip again in the flour, covering the ball, then roll out to about 6 inches; don’t worry if some of the filling breaks through. Dust with flour once more and set aside while you stuff and roll out the rest.
Heat a heavy-based skillet over medium heat. Add a touch of butter, then gently cook a paratha on one side a few minutes until browned. Flip and cook the other side, too. Keep warm while you cook the rest, then serve immediately.