Baked Cauliflower In White Sauce

Baked cauliflower in white sauce

The end of the year means cauliflower season. Like most vegetables, the first ones usually go into fish curries. Actually most new vegetables (of the season) usually get cooked this way. Later, other recipes follow. Today I made a side dish that we have with either rice or rotis and that’s a dish in its simplest form … baked cauliflower in white sauce.
I usually cook in a jiffy and forgot to take some of the exact measurements but I’m sure all of you reading this usually don’t cook with a measuring cup for dishes that has been cooked a zillion times!:) In such cases ‘about’ becomes a very useful word!

1 medium cauliflower, stalk and stems removed
Freshly-ground black pepper
Knobs of butter
4 cubes of Britannia cheese, grated
A dash of red chilli powder
For the sauce:
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp butter
A drizzle of vegetable oil
About 400 ml milk

Baked cauliflower in white sauce

Wash the cauliflower in running water.
Heat a pan of water, enough for the cauliflower to be submerged in it.
Bring it to the boil, add a teaspoon of salt and the cauliflower.
Let it cook till a knife inserted into it meets no resistance. 
Turn it once during the process. But the cauliflower must not be too soft or mushy.
Remove from the pan and set aside as you prepare the sauce.
Heat a pan and drizzle it with oil. This is simply to prevent the butter from burning.
Add the butter and the flour. Keep stirring till the raw smell goes off.
Pour the milk and keep stirring constantly till the mixture thickens. If it becomes too thick, just add some more milk and stir well.
Remove from the stove and add half of the cheese, pepper and chilli powder. Mix well.
Dunk the cauliflower in this sauce upside down. With a spoon, pour the sauce in the spaces between the florets.
Take a baking dish and grease it with butter. Place the sauce-drenched cauliflower (not upside-down now) on the dish.
Pour the remaining sauce on top of the vegetable. 
Scatter the grated cheese on top and dot the surface with butter.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for about 25-30 minutes till the vegetable turns golden brown.

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