Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cauliflower and Peas

I love recipe books that have indexes where you can look up recipes by ingredient! So I took a look the classic 1000 indian recipes to figure out what the heck I was going to do with a head of cauliflower.

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that is eaten raw with some sort of dip to mask the raw cauli taste or lack there of one but not often eaten cooked in American cuisine. It's kind of like brussell sprouts... they sort of get the shaft, don't they? Cauliflower, in some ways, is like eggplant and tofu in that it absorbs flavoring and spice, which is why it's so great for Indian cooking.

I am not providing the recipe as it appears in 1000 Indian recipes because I made many modifications...everything from how much oil to use to cooking time.

Makes 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes

-2 tbsp oil
-1 tsp mustard seeds
-1 inch ginger root, chopped finely
-1 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
-2 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp garam masala
-1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp red chili powder (I used 1/4 because I have the really hot stuff)
-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
-9 ounces peas (I used frozen)
-salt to taste
-1 cup water

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet, over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cover with lid. Let them crackle. Add the ginger and cauliflower and saute for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in coriander, garam masala, cumin, chili, turmeric, salt, and water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until tender, which ever comes first. Stir in the peas (straight from freezer) and simmer for 5 minutes until tender.

You're done! Serve with corn tortillas or your favorite Indian bread or rice.

I didn't go too crazy with modifications. The original recipe called for 6 tbsp oil which I think is just ridiculous. Many a good dish gets ruined with excess oil. Also, the recipe said to simmer the cauliflower for 40 minutes. I was a bit suspicious about this, so I set the timer for 20 minutes and checked after 10 minutes. It was perfect after 10 so I can only imagine the mush that would have been after 40!

This recipe is pretty easy for a beginner. The most challenging part is cutting the cauliflower into florets -- it's about a 10 minute effort. It's a bit crumbly too. But this is a definitely a 1-pot dish so clean up is minimal!

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