Sometimes a single ingredient, a garnish, can turn a dish from meh to Wow. In the case of this cauliflower chickpea curry, that ingredient is cilantro. I’ve been meaning to experiment with a curry using cauliflower and chickpeas for months. When we finally got around to it, the result was okay, but nothing special. Frustrated, I tossed a handful of chopped cilantro into what we had made—a braise of cauliflower, chickpeas, onions, curry, and tomatoes. The ingredients that minutes before had failed to inspire were now dazzling. It’s as if the cilantro had woken everyone up and pulled them onto the dance floor.
What’s happening? I’m guessing one reason is that the cilantro is playing the role of a bitter, like parsley, kale, or green onion greens. The bitter greens fire up the bitter sensors in our mouths and the flavor of everything brightens. In any case, with the cilantro, this curry is fast, easy, and delightful. (Great with Basmati Rice with Peas and Mint.)