Food & Drink

Ryan Riley’s cauliflower and potato coconut curry

This hearty veggie dish is a brilliant winter warmer.

“Never underestimate the simple, restorative power of a curry,” says chef Ryan Riley, co-founder of Life Kitchen, a not-for-profit cookery school for cancer patients.

“This cauliflower and coconut version sings with fresh flavours for an instant pick-me-up, without detracting from everything that is welcoming and familiar in a bowl of warm curry deliciousness.”

Cauliflower and potato coconut curry


(Serves 2)

4 shallots, finely diced

5 garlic cloves

1 lime, zested and quartered

2cm piece of ginger root, peeled

1 long red (Thai) chilli, destemmed, plus optional extra slivers to serve

1 long green (Thai) chilli, destemmed

1½tbsp garam masala

1tbsp medium curry powder

3tbsp vegetable oil

1tbsp ground coriander

1 cinnamon stick (about 10cm long)

1 × 400g tin of full-fat coconut milk

1 large potato (I like Maris Piper), peeled and cut into 2cm pieces

1 cauliflower, florets separated

2tbsp smooth peanut butter

100g coriander, finely chopped


Boiled jasmine rice, to serve

Cauliflower and potato coconut curry
Cauliflower and potato coconut curry (Craig Robertson/PA)


1. Put the shallots, garlic, lime zest, ginger, both chillies, garam masala, curry powder, oil, ground coriander and a sprinkle of salt into a food processor and blitz until completely smooth. Place the mixture into a large saucepan and add the cinnamon stick. Give everything a stir to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and then place the pan over a low heat for about 20 minutes, until the mixture smells sweet and aromatic.

2. Remove the cinnamon stick and then add the coconut milk and about 100ml of water and stir to combine. Add the potato, simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes, then add the cauliflower. Stir well and simmer for another 10 minutes. Finally, stir in the peanut butter and mix well until the sauce is combined. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. Stir half the chopped coriander through the curry, then ladle it into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining coriander to serve. Serve with boiled jasmine rice, the lime wedges for squeezing over, and sprinkled with slivers of extra red chilli, if you wish.

Small Pleasures: Joyful Recipes for Difficult Times by Ryan Riley
Small Pleasures: Joyful Recipes for Difficult Times by Ryan Riley (Craig Robertson/PA)

Small Pleasures: Joyful Recipes For Difficult Times by Ryan Riley is published by Bloomsbury, priced £22. Photography by Craig Robertson. Available now