Cauliflower & Tomato


Cauliflower is grown in the Shan hills, where it’s packed into trucks or onto trains destined for Mandalay and Yangon. We came across this simple dish of sauteed cauliflower and tomato while visiting the temple town of Bagan. There, a beaten egg was poured over the top and stirred in at the end to give it richness, but the vegetables stand alone just fine without the egg. When re-creating it in California, we found that tamarind salt made a nice addition to the vegetables. For a spicier, even saltier take, drizzle soy sauce over the vegetables and finish with a heaping spoonful of sambal oelek (see page 238)

Serves 3 to 4 as a side dish


1 pound cauliflower florets (about 4 heaping cups)

¼ cup canola oil

½ teaspoon salt

2 large shallots or ¼ red onion, sliced

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly lengthwise

1 teaspoon Tamarind Salt (page 217; optional)

1 cup cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped

1 lime or lemon, cut into wedges

Give the cauliflower a once-over, slicing any of the larger florets in half or in quarters to ensure even cooking.

In a wok or pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium-heat. Add the cauliflower and the salt. Cover, decrease the heat to low, and cook 4 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to brown and soften.

Uncover and add the shallots. Continue to cook stirring often, until the shallots begin to soften, 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, the cauliflower is cooked through, and most of the water has evaporated, about 1 minute more.

Taste, seasoning with tamarind salt or regular salt as needed. Sprinkle cilantro over the top. Serve with a bowl of lime wedges at the table.