Culinary SOS: M Café de Chaya’s curried cauliflower salad

Dear SOS: One of my favorite dishes at M Café de Chaya is the curried cauliflower salad. I’ve yet to encounter such a fresh-tasting salad that makes use of just the right amount of spices and oil. I’ve tried many recipes, and nothing yielded anything close to the deliciousness of M Café's version. It’s the thing I need to guide me through this warm summer. Help!

Linda Theung

Santa Monica


Dear Linda: M Café was happy to share their recipe for this wonderfully colorful and savory salad, which we’ve adapted below.

M Café's curried cauliflower salad

Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes, plus cooling times

Servings: 8 to 10


Note: Adapted from M Café.

Curried cashews

2 cups (1/2 pound) cashews

1 tablespoon maple syrup, preferably grade B


3/4 teaspoon curry powder

Pinch salt

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the cashews on a baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes.

2. While the cashews are roasting, in a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup, curry powder and salt.


3. Toss the cashews with the spiced maple syrup, then spread again on the baking sheet.

4. Roast the cashews for 15 more minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until toasted and aromatic. Remove from heat and cool well. This makes more cashews than are needed for the remainder of the recipe; the cashews can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

Curried cauliflower

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander


Pinch dry mustard

2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) peeled and julienned fresh ginger

3 heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets (about 8 cups)

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.


2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, curry powder, salt, cumin, coriander, mustard and ginger. Add the cauliflower florets and toss to combine and evenly coat.

3. Spread the florets in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until golden-brown and aromatic, about 20 minutes, tossing every few minutes for even cooking. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Curried cauliflower salad

3 tablespoons agave syrup or honey


1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 cups (1 3/4 pounds) Curried cauliflower

1 cup (4 ounces) fresh or previously frozen peas


1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup (1 ounce) diced dried apricot

1/2 cup (2 ounces) curried cashews

1/2 cup (1/4 bunch) chopped fresh cilantro


3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the agave syrup, lemon juice and olive oil to form a finishing syrup. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, toss together the cauliflower, peas, bell pepper and apricot. Pour over half of the finishing syrup and toss to combine. Stir in the cashews, cilantro and salt. Taste, adding additional finishing syrup if desired and adjusting the seasoning as needed. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours to give the flavors time to marry before serving. This makes about 8 cups salad.

Each of 10 servings: 179 calories; 4 grams protein; 17 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 12 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 440 mg. sodium.


SOS REQUESTS: Send Culinary SOS requests to or Culinary SOS, Food section, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Please include your name, phone number and city of residence.