Cauliflower and Cheese Bake

When my daughter’s doctor prescribed very bland food (for an Indian) as part of her treatment for a gastric condition, I looked around for a preparation that would be easy to digest and provide very good quality protein. I found that she was able to tolerate cauliflower, eggs, and cheese. I also love cauliflower and cheese and found recipes for the elaborate cauliflower au gratin, but I wanted something simpler. The Complete Australian Cookbook in my personal library gave me a recipe for cauliflower and cheese. I modified the recipe using some features from the au gratin and made the measurements of the ingredients easier. I also omitted the heating of the cheese with the white sauce because of the stringy texture it gives. Instead I sprinkled the cheese on top, and it not only gave a beautiful colour, but also a delicious aroma while baking.

Cauliflower and Cheese Bake - Kalas Kalai

Cauliflower and Cheese Bake

Nutritive Value

The cauliflower is significantly low in almost all nutrients, but it is an easy to digest vegetable. The nutrients in this dish come from the milk, butter, flour, and cheese. These make this dish a high protein and moderate energy preparation. The flavour is also very bland and doesn’t irritate the gut, thus making it ideal for those with a sensitive digestive system.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Cauliflower
  • 2 C Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 T Maida (Refined Wheat Flour)
  • 2 T Butter
  • 350ml Milk
  • ½ tsp Mustard Powder
  • ½ tsp Pepper Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 100g Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp Butter, for greasing

Method

  1. Break the cauliflower into small florets. Wash the florets in salted water to remove dirt and worms. Drain.
  2. Boil the cauliflower in 2 cups of water with 1 teaspoon salt till half cooked. Drain. Discard the water.
  3. Grease a pie or casserole dish with butter. Arrange the cauliflower in it, covering the entire surface.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the flour. Stir to form a smooth paste.
  6. Return to the heat and stir for a minute.
  7. Take the pan from the heat and stir in the milk.
  8. Return to the heat and keep stirring till a smooth sauce is formed.
  9. Add the salt and mustard and pepper powders, and blend.
  10. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower.
  11. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over the cauliflower.
  12. Bake at 170° C (325° F) for 20 minutes or till the mixture begins to bubble.
  13. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Removing from heat to stir and returning to heat is done to avoid burning the flour and to prevent lumps from forming.
  2. I use a wire whisk to stir the sauce as it reduces the formation of lumps.
  3. If you would like to shorten the baking time, grill the cauliflower and cheese for 10 minutes. Take care not to brown too much.
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