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Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower 1

The Pickled Cauliflower I made a little while ago turned out quite nicely and I was interested to see how it might be used as a cooking ingredient. The dish I came up with for today’s post is something of a fusion, incorporating a little of India, China, and the American Southwest. That being said though, I’m going to save you the trouble of scrolling all the way to the end-notes and tell you right away that the result was not quite as good as I hoped… Still, some of my readers might like to see what I did and suggest how it might be improved… 

The Ingredients

  • Beef steak, sliced into thin strips;
  • 2 cups Pickled Cauliflower Florets (a turmeric flavored commercial product could be used);
  • 4 large dried Guajillo Chilies;
  • 1 pinch each Salt and Pepper;
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch;
  • 1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil;
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar;
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander Seed, ground;
  • 1 tsp. Fennel Seed, ground;
  • ½ cup finely chopped Onion;
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Paste.

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower 2

First, toss the beef strips with the salt, pepper and cornstarch, then mix in the oil. Set aside for the moment.

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower 3

Cut up the chilies and pour over a cup of boiling water. Allow this to cool and soak until the chilies are soft.

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower 4

Now, use your food processor to whizz the chilies, along with their soaking liquid to a fine puree, adding the sugar, coriander and fennel about half-way through. Strain the result to remove any recalcitrant hard pieces and add enough water, if necessary, to make up a cup or so of sauce.

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower 5

Deep fry the beef strips in two batches using 2 cups of oil at moderate heat and remove when the outside is just brown but the inside is only partially cooked.

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower 6

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan over moderately high heat and fry the onion and garlic until the onion is soft, then add the sauce, followed by the beef. Continue to cook until the sauce reduces and a little oil begins to separate out at the edges of the pan then stir in the cauliflower. Cook until these are heated through then plate and serve.


Well, as I said, this was not a roaring success. My home-made pickled cauliflower is very tangy and I was aiming for a sweet and sour effect with the sugar. Unfortunately, instead of a nice complimentary balance, I got a clash of opposites. I also thought the chili would be a lot more assertive but the mild Guajillo chilies were almost imperceptible as far as heat is concerned. In fact, my wife and I ended up splashing on some bottled hot sauce at the table. Beyond that, the dish was a bit bland and unexciting and I was disappointed. Obviously, further work needs to be done …


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for sharing. I’ve three suggestions:
    – use multiple types of chiles, a combination of earthy, smoky, spicy and fruity works best (1 of each)
    – add tomato – it rounds out the flavor of chiles
    – add cumin

    March 19, 2015
    • That all sounds good but the cumin idea is excellent!

      March 20, 2015

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