Saturday, February 07, 2015

Veg Recipes of India: Gobi Masala (Spiced Cauliflower)

Indian food is so amazing to me.  I still can't believe how much flavor they manage to pack into one pot.  Seriously.  It's like a party in your mouth.  I think most Americans don't like it because it seems almost excessive after the blandness of white bread.  But this is friggin' fantastic.  And it's definitely going into the usual rounds.

Gobi Masala (Spiced Cauliflower)
From Veg Recipes of India blog

1 large head cauliflower
2 medium Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon dry-roasted cashew nuts
3 large cloves garlic
1 (½-inch) piece ginger root
5 tablespoons canola oil, divided use
1 small bay leaf
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon red chile powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons full-fat Greek or Indian yogurt. whisked until smooth
1½ cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon crushed dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
Pinch of grated nutmeg

Separate the cauliflower into medium florets, rinse well, and set aside.  Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  When the water is boiling, add the cauliflower, cover, and remove from the heat.  Let blanch for 15 minutes.  Drain the cauliflower in a colander and set aside.

Put the tomatoes and the cashews in a blender, and puree until smooth.  If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a little water.  Set aside,  Mash the garlic and ginger together to form a paste.  Set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large pan, kadai, or wok.  When the oil begins to shimmer, add the drained cauliflower.  Sauté on medium heat until the florets begin to brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove the cauliflower from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the bay leaf and caraway seeds, and fry for a few seconds until the oil becomes aromatic.  Add the chopped onions, and sauté until the onions become golden and caramelized, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger paste to the onions, and sauté for a few seconds until the raw aroma of the mixture goes away.  Pour in the tomato mixture and stir well.  Add the turmeric, chile powder, garam masala, coriander, and cumin and mix well.  Sauté the mixture until the oil starts to leave the sides of the masala.  The whole mixture will start to clump together and you will clearly see oil leaving the sides.  This is an important step, as if not done properly, the flavors won't come through in the finished dish.

When the masala is ready, remove the pan from the heat and add the whisked yogurt.  Stir well, and then pour in the water.  Stir again, and then move the pan back onto the heat.  Add the salt and the sauteed cauliflower.  Stir and partially cover the pan.  Simmer the cauliflower for approximately 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

When the cauliflower is tender but not mushy, mix in the heavy cream, fenugreek leaves (if using), and nutmeg.  Stir well and adjust seasoning, if necessary.  Serve with rotis, naan, or rice.

Makes 4 servings

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