The ingredient list looks long, but Tokyo Tina chef Sushil Aryal says you shouldn’t be intimidated – it doesn’t mean it’s hard to make. He also adds, “all ingredients can be found in an Asian grocer and they can easily be used in multiple dishes after.”
His miso-baked cauliflower came about through the Melbourne restaurant's collaboration with Federation Square a couple of years ago, which focused on food sustainability. “[It was about finding food] people should eat more off in the next 25 years. I decided to use cauliflower as it's packed with flavour and perfect to use as a meat substitute,” he says.
Aryal’s recipe has a mix of Asian and European ingredients, and has a real depth thanks to the umami-packed miso. “The walnut and tofu cream goes really well with the firm texture of cauliflower, and there’s a hint of chilli from the dressing. You generally don’t find walnut being used in Asian cooking but when it's used correctly it's great, especially with cauliflower,” he says.
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He has a couple of tricks to make the dish easier, and tips to navigate any kitchen shortcomings you might have. For example, if you don’t have a pot large enough to fit a whole cauliflower, cut it in half. You can also buy furikake from any good Japanese store to save time and effort.
“If you really want to speed up the process, you can cut the cauliflower into small florets and pan fry with oil. Once cooked, add miso paste to the pan and toss. It's just as good without blanching the cauliflower and roasting it whole, though visually it's not quite as impressive.”
And experiment, he says. “You can use whatever vegetable is in season. Instead of cauliflower you could use Jerusalem artichokes or pumpkin. It's just as good, if not even better.”
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
White miso paste rub
100g white miso paste
20ml sesame oil
10ml vegetable oil
10ml soy sauce
1 whole cauliflower
Walnut and tofu emulsion
50ml soy milk
20ml sherry vinegar
15g koji (or substitute with salt, according to taste)
50g silken tofu
2g dried nori sheets, shredded
5g white and black sesame seeds
Coriander leaves, picked
Spring onion, cut into small rounds
1 walnut, finely grated with a microplane
Preheat an oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Combine the white miso paste, sesame oil, vegetable oil, sake, soy sauce and mirin in a bowl and mix until smooth.
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add the whole cauliflower and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove. Once cool, rub the white miso paste into the cauliflower and place in the oven for 20–30 minutes until it forms a nice crust and colour.
While the cauliflower is roasting, make the walnut and tofu emulsion by blending the walnut, soy milk and tofu in the blender. Slowly add oil until the emulsion thickens. Season with koji and sherry vinegar.
Mix the togarashi, nori sheets, white and black sesame seeds, sugar and salt in a mortar and pestle and crush slightly to make furikake.
To assemble, spread the emulsion on a large plate. Place the cauliflower on top, sprinkle with furikake and garnish.
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