My Secret Love-affair with the Queen

If it’s true that potatoes are the king of vegetables, then cauliflower must surely be the queen. Firm, creamy-white florets of this royal vegetable cry out to be cooked in a myriad of ways.

Gently stewed with aromatic basmati rice, fresh turmeric, mung dal and ginger in kitcheri; lightly steamed with baby carrots and broccoli and mixed with butter-soft chickpeas, garden greens and a peppery lime and tahini dressing for a stunning salad; dipped in chili-laced chickpea flour batter and crisped in sweet, hot ghee; lightly sauteed with tomatoes and fresh coriander; splashed with olive oil then oven-roasted and folded through with feta, puy lentils and watercress; I could go on. I must admit to having a secret love-affair with cauliflower.

There are more than a dozen cauliflower dishes in my books. Here’s what I crave today, with fresh hot parathas. This recipe is from my first cookbook. Order one from me now for Mothers Day:

potato and cauliflower curry:

North Indian Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes

This is a popular North Indian vegetable dish. Combined with hot Puffed Fried Breads (Pooris) or rice, I could eat this any time of the day and on any occasion.

YIELD: enough for 4 – 5 persons

1/4 cup ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds,
1 teaspoon cumin seeds,
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger,
2 hot green chilies, seeded and chopped,
3 medium potatoes, cut into 1 1/4 cm (1/2-inch) cubes,
1 medium cauliflower, cut into small flowerets,
2 medium tomatoes blanched, peeled, and diced,
1/2 teaspoon turmeric,
1/2 teaspoon garam masala,
2 teaspoons ground coriander,
1 teaspoon brown sugar,
2 teaspoons salt,
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh coriander or parsley,
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.

Heat the ghee or oil in a large, heavy saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the cumin and saute them until they darken a few shades. Add the ginger and chilies, saute for a few moments, and then add the potato and cauliflower pieces. Stir-fry the vegetables for 4 or 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes, turmeric, garam masala, ground coriander, sugar, and salt.

Mix well, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and, stirring occasionally, cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add water if necessary during this time but don’t over-stir the vegetables. When the vegetables are cooked, add the fresh coriander and the lemon juice. Serve hot.

Posted by Kurma on 19/4/11; 5:08:36 AM

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