Monday, April 1, 2013

MASALA CAULIFLOWER

MASALA CAULIFLOWER

I learnt this dish decades ago from someone I respect and admire, Mrs. Radha Kini of Jamshedpur. The specialty of this preparation is that the cauliflower is cooked whole. I had never come across this before. Over the years, I have prepared this dish many times and it has always been appreciated.

I would recommend your choosing a tightly packed cauliflower since the chances of it being contaminated in any way is that much lower. In any case, right at the start you are cooking the cauliflower in water with haldi powder and salt added to it. This takes care of impurities if any in the cauliflower.

In case, you don't get an appropriate cauliflower, a variation is to break the cauliflower into medium sized florets. This recipe is for a large cauliflower. You will need to scale down the ingredients for cauliflowers of smaller size.

Thanks to the gravy that surrounds the cooked cauliflower, this dish lends itself to being an accompaniment for both rice as well as rotis.





Ingredients:
  • Cauliflower, large, 1
  • Tomato, large, 1
  • Onion, large, 1
  • Fresh Coconut Gratings, 1 cup
  • Kashmiri Chilli Powder, 1 and 1/2 to 2 tsp or as per taste
  • Haldi (Turmeric) Powder, 1/2  tsp
  • Ginger,  chopped, 1 " piece
  • Garlic, 6 pods
  • Khus khus (Poppy seeds), 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Cashew nuts, 6-8
  • Cloves, 3
  • Dalchini (Cinnamon), 2 sticks
  • Bay leaves, 2
  • Oil, 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped, for garnishing
  • Salt, to taste
Method: 

Take an appropriately sized whole cauliflower. Before cooking immerse the cauliflower in water with salt and haldi for 15-20 minutes. This helps get rid of impurities.


Next wash the cauliflower again and steam it in salt water with a pinch of haldi powder till it is about 75 %  cooked.  It should be firm and not overcooked. Keep aside.
Chop the onion and the tomato and keep aside.
Soak the cashew nuts in warm water for 15-20 minutes
In a blender, grind together fresh coconut gratings, chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic, khus khus, cashew nuts, and salt to a smooth paste, by adding just the required amount of water.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed kadhai, when it is hot add the whole spices ie. cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves and saute
Add the chopped onion and fry till it turns golden
Add the chopped tomato and cook it becomes soft
Now add the prepared masala and fry till the raw smell goes
Place the almost cooked whole cauliflower in the centre of the kadhai and cover it with the masala
Check for salt as the cauliflower has already been cooked in salt water
Add some water if you prefer to make a dish with more gravy
Cook the cauliflower on low flame for it to fully absorb the masala
Finally garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves
Serve hot, with rice or rotis.