Honey and garlic roasted cauliflower with spicy sake dipping sauce

Nisha Thomas shares her first foray into cooking with sake with this simple and delicious roasted cauliflower recipe. Experimenting with Japanese cuisine, Nisha creates a spicy-sweet flavour combination with roasted garlic, honey and a little fiery heat from bird's eye chilli.

First published in 2016

Japanese cuisine is something I've only really begun to enjoy recently. The husband being a big fan of the Asian-inspired food scene, our evenings out mostly revolve around food from the Far East which has made me appreciate food that I otherwise would have never come across. And then there's food blogging, which has introduced me to a plethora of amazing products and cuisines, sake being one of them.

Although I have had sake as a drink numerous times in restaurants, and I also have a soft spot for the warm version of it, I had never actually cooked with it. Of course the occasional rice wine might make its way into a dish while on an experimental cooking spree, but I had never really ventured into cooking with sake as the main ingredient.

The opportunity to cook with sake this month has been a great learning experience for me, and I'm sure there are loads of others out there who are also intimidated by the prospect of cooking with it and this may provide a little nudge in the right direction.

I did quite a bit of research and came up first with this cauliflower recipe, which is not only easy to make but also tastes fabulous. The cooking sake I used (Yutaka) has a soothing taste and is great in this fiery dip. The roasted garlic adds a nice smoky flavour to the sauce and the spicy-sweet balance is a treat for your palate – I tend to favour quite a lot of spice, but feel free to adjust the heat to taste. I'm very happy to add this recipe to my cooking repertoire.




Roasted cauliflower

Spicy sake dipping sauce

To serve


Set up a steamer in order to part-cook the cauliflower. Steam for a few minutes until just tender – the florets should not be fully cooked through or they will start to disintegrate. Set aside to cool completely
Alternatively, boil the florets for a couple of minutes in a pan of boiling water. Drain and cool completely
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with foil
Mix together the garlic powder, chilli flakes (if using) and oil in a bowl then season with a little salt and pepper. Lightly bash the garlic cloves with the flat of a knife or the palm of your hand then mix into the oil
Add the cooled cauliflower florets and gently toss to coat fully in the garlic oil. Spread out over the lined baking tray and roast in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, mix together the sriracha, soy sauce and cornflour in a pan. Place over a medium heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce thickens – if too thick, add a dash of water to loosen
Remove from the heat and stir in the honey until everything is combined and smooth
Remove the baking tray from the oven. Pick out the whole garlic cloves and set aside for the dipping sauce. Toss the cauliflower in with the honey sauce until well coated (or transfer to a bowl to mix together if easier)
Spread back out on the baking tray and return to the oven for a further 10–12 minutes, or until the florets are golden and lightly charred at the edges
While this finishes in the oven, prepare the dipping sauce. Place all the ingredients in a small pan along with the reserved whole roasted garlic from before. Place over a medium heat and cook through for a few minutes to infuse and combine
Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse blitz briefly just to break down the whole garlic and chilli – it will still be a little chunky
Serve the cauliflower warm from the oven with the spicy dipping sauce and a sprinkle of spring onion slices to garnish

Nisha is a freelance writer, avid food blogger and wannabe food photographer.

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