Chili, Orange & Curry-flower Tacos
I've been on a real curry kick lately! Fun fact about curry: it's actually a spice blend usually consisting of turmeric, coriander, cumin and black pepper. Other spices are used depending on the intensity or colour of the curry you choose, and depending on the region of India the curry is derived. This was totally a meal I just threw together based on flavours I like, and stuff we had in the kitchen: naan bread, some basmati rice, and a very ripe mango. The results were something I'm still craving: spicy curried cauliflower on a bed of rice, guacamole and drizzled with a lime mango purée.
Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous family high in sulfur containing compounds called glucosinolates - sulfur containing phytonutrients. There are many glucosinolates, and several have been studied for their anti-cancer properties in the body when converted into anti-cancer compounds. For this to happen, an enzyme that raw or lightly cooked cauliflower also contains called myrosinase needs to be present for the conversion. Glucosinolates can have an unwanted impact on the thyroid by inhibiting its function, which is why cruciferous vegetables are referred to as "goitrogenic". From a nutritional standpoint, there is no point in avoiding this group of sulfur-rich foods unless you have an under active thyroid. In studies done on both animals and humans, glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables only had a negative impact on thyroid function when consumed in quantities over 10% of their own body weight per day. This would be equivalent to 15 lbs for a person weighing 150 lbs, and would be very rare and difficult to achieve. As with any nutritional advice however, cruciferous vegetables are best consumed in moderation, at about 3-5 cups per week ideally.
Cauliflower is actually considered one of the 10 best sources of vitamin C, and also contains quercetin, a flavanoid antioxidant helpful in immune regulation and free radical scavenging. It's important to consume cauliflower raw or lightly cooked on a regular basis to receive the benefits of these compounds. Boiling, or submerging a vegetable in water to cook it is the worst way to consume any vegetable, as even 3-5 minutes of boiling will kill most vitamin c, enzymes and phytonutrients it contains. Lightly steaming, or baking vegetables is a preferable method of cooking to preserve as many nutrients as possible.
Chili, Orange & Curry-flower Tacos
1/2 head of cauliflower broken into florets
1 tbsp red curry paste
2 minced garlic cloves
1 chili, chopped
Juice of 1/2 an orange
1 tbsp coconut oil
Sea salt & pepper
Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and chop the cauliflower into florets. Mince garlic & add to a skillet with coconut oil. Heat until garlic is fragrant, then add the cauliflower, curry paste, and chili. Stir for 2-3 minutes until cauliflower is well coated, then add the juice of half an orange. Cook this mixture for 5-6 minutes until the juice is reduced. Add the mixture to a baking pan that you've rubbed a thin layer of coconut oil onto, then place in the oven for 20 minutes, stopping half way to rotate the cauliflower. You want the cauliflower to be golden.
The cauliflower mixture is rather spicy, so a healthy fat source like guacamole & a cooler flavour like mango & lime will cut the spice. Plus, the flavours compliment each other so well!
Juice of 1/2 lime
Add chopped mango to a blender or food processor, along with the juice of 1/2 a lime. Blend until smooth. Optional: add 1 mint leaf.