Broccoli & Cauliflower Curry Bake
Here’s one of my Mum’s old recipes especially for Helen, who has been asking what to do with a fridge full of cauliflower and broccoli. It’s easy, and also a fiendish way of trying to get kids to eat cauli and broccoli.
Another brilliant tip for getting a reluctant kid to eat broccoli comes courtesy of Yuri’s Mom: tell them to pretend they’re a brontosaurus munching on trees (I suspect this may only work with boys. Some boys. My two never bought it for one second, but then, they’re teenagers).
What do I need?
- Some broccoli (use however much you need)
- Some cauliflower
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups of milk
- Generous knob of butter (oh, I don’t know – 4 tbsp?)
- Roughly equal, or slightly more plain flour
- 1/2 tsp or so of curry powder
- Grated cheese
What do I do?
Divide the broccoli and cauliflower into florets. I find that kids are more likely to be suckered into eating them if you cut them fairly small.
Cook the broccoli and cauliflower lightly. My preferred method of cooking vegies is microwaving. It uses a minimum of water, which retains the maximum nutrients in the vegetables. Use a covered microwave dish (or put a bit of glad wrap – cling film – over it), and just put a little water (a 1/4 cup or so) in the bottom to make some steam. Although one vegetable I can’t abide microwaved is potato; it comes all nasty and waxy.
Microwave for about 4 or 5 minutes, until they’re cooked but still firm. I loathe cooking vegetables to mush.
Put the cooked vegetables in a shallow baking dish.
Prepare a basic white sauce. Again, my preferred method for this is microwaving. Cooking it in a saucepan is fine, but personally I find I have less disasters with lumps if I do it in the microwave.
Melt the butter in the saucepan or microwave first. Stir the flour into the butter and make a thick, smooth paste. Add the milk gradually, stirring continually so that you don’t get any lumps. Once you’ve added the milk, keep cooking it over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Keep stirring continually, or else it’ll go lumpy. When you’re stirring, make sure you run the spoon around the bottom of the pan so nothing sticks to it.
If you do get lumps, use a whisk and vigourously whisk them out. It works sometimes.
I prefer microwaving the sauce. Add the milk and stir it through thoroughly, then heat it on high for about 2 minutes. Take it out and stir it vigourously to dissolve lumps. Return it to the microwave for another 2 minutes, stir it again, and keep repeating until it’s thickened.
If you find that it’s not thickening at all, you might need more flour. Don’t add the flour straight to it, or it’ll be lumpier than a mattress in a cheap motel. Get a glass and mix some flour with water into a smooth, but not too thick, paste, and add that gradually to the sauce.
Once the sauce has thickened, add about 1/2 tsp curry powder – use enough to get a bit of colour and flavour in the sauce, but not enough to be overpowering. You might find a pinch of salt doesn’t go astray.
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and broccoli, sprinkle with the mixed grated cheese and breadcrumbs, whack it into a moderate (180°C/350°F) oven until the cheese is melted and the bake is nice and golden. Should be about 15-20 minutes, max.
You could also push your luck with the kids, and include some asparagus as well.