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Executive chef Alexander Ong usually fries the cauliflower and curry leaves he serves at Betelnut Pejiu Wu, but for the homemade version, he suggests sautéing. For Sichuan peppercorns, head to Chinatown, and for curry leaves (fresh or frozen will do), Ong sends people to Richmond New May Wah (207 Clement St.).
Makes 4 Servings
For the tribal salt:
½ cup Kosher salt
½ tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and crushed
¼ teaspoon five-spice powder
For the cauliflower:
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
1 head cauliflower, cut in florets
½ tablespoon red chili flakes
16 curry leaves
¼ cup olive oil
1. In a small bowl, mix the salt, peppercorns, and five-spice powder. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, white pepper, and vegetable oil, and add the cauliflower. Coat well and marinate for 2 hours.
3. Preheat a sauté pan over low heat, and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower, and cover the pan to brown, about 6 minutes. Flip the cauliflower, and repeat until just before it’s cooked through.
4. Add the curry leaves, and sauté until the leaves are fragrant and crisp. Toss in chili flakes. Drain the cauliflower well, and season to taste with some of the tribal salt.