My Mom's "Gebratener Blumenkohl mit Kick" (Spicy shallow fried cauliflower)

This is another of my Mom's recipes. What makes this simple dish so flavorful and perfect, is the addition of the Indonesian chili-based spice Sambal Oelek, one of my Mom's signature spices. It gives the buttery and nutty cauliflower a bit of a kick :) My Mom "shallow fries" the cauliflower florets, that means she fries them in a frying pan with just a little bit of oil compared to "deep frying" where it is submerged into hot oil. Roasting on the other side happens over an open fire or in the oven where the hot air envelopes the food. So, to be acurate, we are "shallow frying" the cauliflower.

One or more of her signature spices - Sambal Oelek, Biber Salcasi, Harissa - are also used in My Mom's chickpea salad, stuffed beef rolls, sunday pot roast, spaghettie bolognese, spinach in garlic-tomato sauce, cous cous,  pork filets with gravy, etc.


  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 2 l water
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2-3 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (Indonesian style chili-based sauce with garlic, lime, ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper 
  • 2 teaspoons breadcrumbs


  1. Pre-cook the cauliflower: Remove the green outer leaves of the cauliflower. Cut the stalk crosswise. Place the entire cauliflower head in a big pot, stalk down. Pour the cold water over it till the entire cauliflower is covered. Add salt. Bring water to a slow boil and let cook for about 15 minutes till the cauliflower is soft. Test by poking the cauliflower with a fork, it should go in smoothly. Take the cauliflower from the heat and drain.
  2. Shallow fry the cauliflower: In a frying pan, heat the oil and butter at medium heat. Break the floretes of the cauliflower apart. Don't cut the cauliflower, try to leave the individual florets whole. Add the Sambal Oelek and the bradcrumps to the frying pan and stir. The pan should be covered with a red sauce. Place the cauliflower florets into the sauce, heads down. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of each salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Fry the cauliflower for a few minutes till the breadcrumps in the sauce turn slightly darker. Turn the cauliflower around, sprinkle again with another teaspoon of each, salt, pepper and breadcrumps. Let fry for another 5 minutes.
  3. Serve: The slightly spicy roasted cauliflower is a nice snack on its own. You can also serve it as a side dish. I recommend to serve it with my Mom's Pork Filets. As she prepares those filets with similar spices, including the Sambal Olek, the filets and the gravy of the filets are also nicely spicy and add to the flavor of the cauliflower.

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