One of my readers, Karen, asked for a recipe, and here it is.
I should confess up front that I'm not a gourmet cook, not even close. My long-suffering family will vouch to that. When my two boys were little, I felt ambitious and American one Thanksgiving and made mashed potatoes from scratch. Took me hours. Afterwards, the boys asked me, very politely, Mom, from next time may we please have the kind from the box? (Okay, so mine were a little lumpy).
Once I got over my smarting ego, that was just fine with me!
Anyway, this cauliflower curry is my mother's recipe--adapted a bit for my spend-least-time-in-the-kitchen lifestyle.
I added the measurements--my mother always said, "add a little of this," or, " put in a lot of that." I hope you'll enjoy.
I find cauliflowers kind of amazing. When I was a child, my grandfather, who used to live in a little village in India, would take me for a walk along some vegetable fields he owned. I still remember seeing the cauliflowers pushing out of their green sleeves like white fists.
Folks, please feel free to add YOUR favorite recipes to this blog. Of any ethnicity.
It would be especially fun to see recipes for dishes that are mentioned in my books.
1 cauliflower head, cut into pieces
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1bell pepper, chopped (what we call capsicum in India--I use green or orange or red, whatever's available)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 onion chopped
1 inch garlic, grated
4 Tablesp. vegetable oil--you can use less, but I warn you it won't taste as good. My mother uses 6 T, which is probably a bit much but ends up very yummy (I use canola oil)
2 cloves garlic, chopped (this is optional)
1 tsp whole cumin
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, what we call green chilies (more if you're feeling adventurous) If you want it hotter, you can chop it up. If not, leave it whole & remove before eating. My mother puts in 3 chilies. I use 2 big jalapenos, but I leave them whole because the boys don't like it too hot.
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
(1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder) this is optional, if you want a more spicy taste. I sometimes omit it.
salt to taste
my mother adds a 1/2 tsp of sugar, because in Bengal, where I come from, people like that extra touch of sweetness.
chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) for garnish, optional
In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil, add the whole cumin, turn the heat to medium. As soon as the cumin spatters, add the chopped garlic, then the onion. Let cook, stirring, until golden. Add the ginger & the green chilies. My mother adds the sugar now.
After 1 minute, add the bell pepper. Let cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, let cook until a little mashed (about 2 minutes). Add the turmeric, cumin and coriander powders. Let cook on low heat about 5 minutes. You should smell the fragrance.
Add the cauliflower. If the peas are fresh, add them now. Saute for a few minutes--I like the cauliflower to brown just a little--then add salt, turn to low, cover and let cook 6 or 7 minutes, or until cauliflower is a little soft.(Right around now, I get bored, so I use this time to do my bends, stretches & standing yoga postures)
If using frozen peas, add now. After that, uncover & cook so the liquid dries up. About 10 minutes, I'd guess. (More bend and stretch time).
As soon as the cauliflower is cooked enough, take it off the stove so it won't turn mushy. Put it in a serving dish. If you're going to reheat it in the microwave before serving, add the coriander leaf garnish only after it's been reheated.
Good with basmati rice, jasmine rice, brown rice (which I use--but not for parties because the more traditional eaters don't care for brown rice), basmati brown rice (a nice but pricey best-of-both-worlds option). Or naan or parathas.(My boys love naan & parathas--you can get some very nice frozen varieties in the Indian stores nowadays. NOT low-calorie, though!)
Add a dal or lentil dish on the side. And yogurt.
(I'm vegetarian, but you could add to your dinner a chicken dish).
End with mango ice cream, if you're feeling decadent. I have a really good recipe--it's so easy you won't believe it! Usually my younger son makes it for us. Let me know if you want it.