Tandoori Spiced Cauliflower With All the Fixings

Chef Darrel Ahenakew’s recipe celebrates a Vancouver icon.

The Cascade Room, Vancouver’s iconic late-night restaurant and watering hole, recently celebrated 15 years in operation, and to mark the occasion it introduced its new chef, Darrel Ahenakew. Originally from Saskatoon, he is reinvigorating the menu with dishes that draw on his Indigenous heritage as well as his experience at Vancouver institutions such as CinCin Ristorante + Bar and Tutto Restaurant & Bar. To celebrate, chef Ahenakew has provided NUVO’s readers with his recipe for tandoori spiced cauliflower served with spiced beluga lentils, roasted red pepper vinaigrette, and herbed yogurt.




For the tandoori spiced cauliflower:

4 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 cup tandoori paste

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 head cauliflower

1 can coconut milk

1 cup potato starch


For the spiced beluga lentils:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion (chopped)

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger (chopped)

1/2 celery stalk (chopped)

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 tablespoon cumin

3 large ripe tomatoes (chopped)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup black lentils (rinsed)

2 cups vegetable stock


For the roasted red pepper vinaigrette:

1 cup roasted red peppers

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon smoked paprika


For the herbed yogurt:

1 cup greek yogurt

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Pinch of salt


For the tandoori spiced cauliflower:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix oil, tandoori paste, salt, and pepper together.

Coat whole cauliflower in the tandoori mixture, cover with foil, and cook for 35 minutes with a little water in the pan to prevent burning.

Remove from the foil and let cool.

Cut cooled cauliflower into florets, then dredge in the coconut milk and coat in potato starch.

Deep fry or air-fry at 350°F

for 5 minutes or until crispy.


For the spiced beluga lentils:

Add vegetable oil to a pan and sauté onion, garlic, ginger, and celery until soft.

Add bay leaf, curry powder, cumin, tomatoes, tomato paste, and cook on medium heat until fragrant.

Add black lentils and vegetable stock. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until lentils are soft.

For the roasted red pepper vinaigrette:

Add all ingredients to a food mixer/blender until smooth and velvety.


For the herbed yogurt:

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl.


To serve:

Build a plate with the tandoori cauliflower and spiced beluga lentils. Drizzle with red pepper vinaigrette and herbed yogurt.