Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Nutty and Toasty Cauliflower Curry

Lazy weekend cooking days are good balms for the soul on a chilly winter day. Today I had marinara quietly burbling on the woodstove, a pot of chamomile tea brewed for my periodic refreshment, a bunch of past-due refrigerator and pantry edibles pulled out for last minute cooking reprievals and potatoes and eggplant baking in the oven. All that cooking helps heat the house so that's an incentive too (19 degrees F this morning!).

I had most of a bag of these fun shaped Disco Crisps from my last jaunt to the Asian markets in Albany. These flat wafers are made of chickpea flour and spicy flavorings and though the package contains no cooking directions, I have found from experience that the best way to puff them up so that they are opaque and CRISPY is to microwave them for 2-3 minutes. My microwave doesn't turn any more, so I have to nuke them for 1 minute, then stir them around and then nuke them another minute.

They are very tasty and make nice, spicy snacks (my pet Venus Flytrap was trying to score one in the photo above if you look very closely). These Disco Crips are very good paired with a yogurt dip. They had to be cooked up en masse, so I decided to build an Indian meal around them.

I still had enough basmati rice left to cook up a pot full and then there was this beautiful head of cauliflower rolling around the back of the fridge that needed cooking. I pulled out some cookbooks and combed my recipe index file for a new way to coddle my crucifer. I found a yellowed index card in my file for an intriguing Cauliflower Curry that uses a blend of ground roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, unsweetened coconut (I bought a bag of coconut "strings" from the Asian markets last time that I keep in my freezer) and a lush blend of spices.

The smells in my kitchen were heavenly. I kept popping the top of my blender after I had ground up this mixture and it was like being transported to some sunny, golden place that had great music. Hey, that sounds like India! Had pop on some bhangra on the boom box and dance in the kitchen.

I wish I could give you the provenance for this recipe or give proper thanks to its creator, but I'm afraid all I have is my handwritten card from some decade past. To whomever it was, thank you and let me share this heavenly recipe for:

Cauliflower Curry

1/2 cup grated unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger

2 Tbsp. shelled, roasted peanuts (be sure to check labels on roasted nuts of all kinds, because some manufacturers use wheat in their seasoning mix. Make sure your peanuts are gluten free)

1/2 tsp. garam masala (use curry powder if you don't have garam masala and kick it up with some cayenne pepper to taste)

1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into medium florets.

2 medium onions, peeled and sliced thinly

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Juice of 1/2 lemon (I only had a lime, but it still tasted great)

Heat large frying pan. Add sesame seeds and toast, stirring continually, until seeds are brown and toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Immediately remove from hot pan and toss into a blender.

Add coconut, cumin, cloves, ginger, peanuts, and garam masala. Cover blender and blend on low for 1 minute, until all ingredients are blended together and peanuts are in a fine meal. The scent of this mixture will transport you.

Heat oil in large frying pan. Add sliced onions, and fry until soft and slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add cauliflower and stir to coat with oil and onions. Add in transporting nutty blender mixture and 1/4 cup water. Stir to blend. Cover pan, and cook over low heat, until cauliflower is just tender, stirring every several minutes.

Add lemon juice and salt to taste, and cook another 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6 as a main dish served with luscious basmati rice and disco chips.

I'm linking this blog post and recipe up with a new gluten-free blogger friend, Brittany of Real Sustenance, who is passionate about cooking with the seasons. She's already got a great collection of seasonal recipes linked back to her site for her weekly Seasonal Sundays event, so drop by, say hi and check out her cool blog.


Candace said...

I'm going to try this. It looks great!

Priya Sreeram said...

looks so yumm- the way i like it !