Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Indian-spiced Cauliflower and Peas (Gobi Mutter)

As soon as we hit a week of rain and chilly nights, I started craving spicy food like something fierce. We ordered some Thai take out and the spicy yellow curry with tofu and vegetables was really good but I wanted something more than just heat. The next day we went to one of the nearby Indian restaurants near Union Square. The curries were oily, weakly spiced, and just plain disappointing. I clearly haven't learned anything from my previous searches for good Indian food.

I had a beautiful head of cauliflower at home so I decided to make gobi mutter, cauliflower and peas. Cauliflower and peas are delicately seasoned with ground coriander and ground cumin and finished off with a touch of fragrant garam masala. The heat comes from the shredded ginger and green chili. This dish is spicy and full of flavor, but you can adjust the spiciness as needed. I love eating this with hot rotis and a bit of yogurt to balance the spiciness. 

The Indian way of cooking vegetables is surprisingly healthy and satisfying.  You take simple vegetables and transform them into flavor-packed, satisfying, finger-licking delicious dishes. And Indian food is easy to make once you have the basic set of spices at home.

Several friends of mine confessed that they are intimidated by the number of spices that go into Indian cooking (and the expense). It is an investment to buy the spices but the ingredients that go into Indian food- potatoes, onions, tomatoes, garlic, onion, ginger, green chilis, lentils, etc- are some of the most affordable and easiest to find.  I recommend starting with basic ground and whole spices. Commonly used ground spices include turmeric, red cayenne pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, and garam masala. Commonly used whole spices include cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, dried red chilis, whole cloves, and whole cinnamon. Once you have this basic set of spices you can easily cook your favorite Indian dishes at home!

Indian-spiced Cauliflower and Peas (Gobi Mutter)
1 medium cauliflower, stalks and leaves removed, florets cut into small, bite size pieces
1/4 cup peas, thawed if frozen
1 inch ginger, shredded
1/2 green chili or jalapeno deseeded
1/4 lemon juiced
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric 1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
Heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once shimmery, add cumin seeds and let sizzle for one minute. Add ginger and jalapeno, sauté for three minutes.

Stir in cauliflower. Add turmeric, salt, cumin powder, and coriander powder, stirring to coat well. Add peas. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Remove cover. Increase heat to medium-high or high to evaporate any remaining liquid. Stir frequently.

Add garam masala, stir to coat well. Sprinkle lemon juice to taste. Remove from heat.

Serve hot with parathas or roti. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, if desired.

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