2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
¼ teaspoon sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons vadouvan or curry powder
2 shallots, thinly sliced
¾ cup vegetable oil, divided
1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, patted dry
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 teaspoon grated lemongrass
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon harissa paste
1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro stems, plus sprigs for serving
Steamed basmati rice (for serving)
Combine chiles, vinegar, sugar, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ cup water in a small bowl. Let sit at room temperature until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 450°. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, vadouvan, and 1 tsp. salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned, 30–35 minutes. Transfer to a paper towels to drain.
Meanwhile, cook shallots in ½ cup vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon; season with salt.
Heat remaining ¼ cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, 5–7 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and lemongrass and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and harissa pasta and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened in color, about 2 minutes.
Whisk in coconut milk, bring to a boil, and cook, whisking occasionally, until curry thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, 5–7 minutes. Add chickpeas and ¼ cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture returns to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro stems; season with salt.
Serve curry over rice topped with drained pickled chiles, roasted cauliflower, fried shallots, and cilantro sprigs.
Recipe: Rick Martinez | Photograph: Alex Lau