Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

Before we enter into the world of spices, we want to give you a “SKEWER IBD” update. We have run about 45 miles so far and are less then $75 away from raising $4,000. We will be mailing a copy of The Foul Bowel to the winner of our blog giveaway, Allison Finn. Congratulations Allison!!  Our fundraising isn’t over yet though. We still need your help and donations to really “stick a fork” in IBD. Please consider donating today (click here).  We are currently the 3rd top fundraiser on our team! Thank you to those who have donated so far!!  Also, as you may or may not know, the Jewish holiday Purim (ready more about it here) begins tomorrow night. We will be rocking some pretty awesome I Be a fooDie costumes that you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned for pictures (and to see us make a fool of ourselves…)

Now, back to SPICES! We love spice. When we cook we often do not use measuring instruments to measure out spices.  Instead, we add spices almost by the handful to the point where the spice aroma lingers for hours afterward.  We used to just double the prescribed amount of spice in a recipe, but now we just go by instinct and smell.  I have been able to convince Marnina that spices can replace unhealthy ingredients, such as salt and sugar.  For example, I literally dump cinnamon into my cream of brown rice every morning because cinnamon has a sweet and warm taste that can replace sugar or any sugar derivative.  We mostly omit broth and seasoning mixes from our soups because of the high sodium content and replace them with extra spices.  Some of our favorite ground spices are curry, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin, all of which happen to be spices featured in Indian cuisine.  We have recently started using fresh ginger and garlic, and have noticed that the flavors provided by these fresh spices are more intense than the ground versions.

There is often a misconception that spices automatically add spiciness to a given food.  Spices are substances that are added as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative.  Hot spices, such as peppery seasonings (i.e. cayenne pepper) can produce a burning sensation in the mouth and act as a digestive stimulant.  Spicy foods, such as hot peppers, can have a damaging effect on the digestive tract for those with IBD, so that is why individuals with IBD are advised to avoid hot, spicy foods.  However, most spices do not produce such effects.  And as we often preach, spices affect everyone differently; different people are sensitive to different spices and different amounts of spices.  Most spices do not add the type of spiciness that will trigger a flare or cramping.  Many spices actually have digestive health benefits; both ginger and turmeric have anti-inflammatory effects and aid in digestion. And as a further nutritional benefit, spices are a stimulating alternative to salt.

To showcase our affinity to spices, we picked out an Indian cauliflower recipe that has some similar qualities to the well-known Indian dish aloo gobi.  This recipe involves marinating, baking, and then re-marinating an entire head of cauliflower.  Good things usually happen when you marinate a food for 8+ hours, which is exactly what we did.  We let the marinade seep into the cauliflower for an entire day and then we baked it.  The result was an apartment that smelled like an Indian kitchen, a fall-off-the-bone spiced cauliflower, and a very happy young couple.  We paired the cauliflower with tilapia marinated and cooked in an Indian tandoori spice blend and some curry-infused rice…..again, we love spice.

Prepping the cauliflower

Boiling the cauliflower

Preparing the marinade

Marinated it's time for the oven

Almost done! We put the cauliflower back in the oven to cook until golden brown (see picture below)

The finished product!

The meal in its entirety


  • 1 medium size cauliflower
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • Salt & red chilli powder to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 finely chopped Green chilli (we omitted the chili for reasons mentioned above)
  • Few cilantro leaves
Ingredients for curry paste:
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes: 2 (can also use tomato puree)
  • 2” ginger
  • Parmesan cheese: to sprinkle generously
  • Spices to taste


1. Cut the stem at the base, remove extra leaves & wash cauliflower with warm water.
2. Now take a biggish pan & heat some water. Add 1 tsp of salt to water and boil the water.
3. Soak the cauliflower in the water for 4-5 minutes (dont over cook at this stage else the florets will fall apart/disintegrate).
4. Take out the cauliflower on a paper towel & dry it well.

To make marinade: 

1. Heat Olive oil in a pan , add ginger-garlic Paste & spices. Roast lightly for 3-4 minutes.
2.  Add this mix to freshly whipped thick Yogurt in a bowl, gently mix to make a paste like consistency.
3. Add freshly chopped coriander leaves into the marinade paste.
4. Rub the cauliflower with marinade, make sure to cover the whole flower well, wrap in a plastic bag & refrigerate in fridge for at least 4-5 hours.

To make curry paste:

1. Heat oil in a nonstick pan. Saute chopped onion, tomatoes and ginger and season to taste.
2. Let it cool down and grind to make a smooth puree.

Method to bake cauliflower:

1. Pre-warm oven to 350 degrees
2. Take a baking pan, spray some cooking oil & keep aside.
3. Place the marinated cauliflower in the baking pan & bake it for 30-35 minutes till it turns golden brown.
4. Now take the pan out and pour the curry paste over the top of cauliflower and generously sprinkle some parmesan cheese.
5. Bake it for another 20 minutes and wait for the magical gobhi to get ready (in the meantime set ur platter with pickles, salad and naan)….

We recommend you serve this cauliflower with naan or some rice.

Recipe adapted from:

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