I have blogged about my Cauliflower with Whole Spices sometime back. Only I didn't mention then what or more who I always think of when I make an Indian vegetable dish using whole spices. I thought that I ought to today.
More than 10 years ago I went to Canada for the first time. We were living in Rochester (NY) then and Hub drove us in the middle of a snowy winter to Montreal to visit a few of his friends from the days (when) he was preparing his Doctorate at l'Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal. If I weren't wrong, he lasted only a year in the miserable cold, though the friendships he had made there were real and precious to him.
I first learnt to eat vegetables (e.g. potato) in whole spices, believe it or not, from a French Canadian lady. Though she had the unfair advantage of being married to an Indian guy from Calcutta(?). We often wonder how said Indian guy survives the extreme cold there, and he must have since he's still there and has even become the father of 2 lovely children.
Returning to Europe, I would start to prepare dry vegetable curries using whole spices, very much enjoying the textures that they impart to the dish. And each time I do so I would think of Martine and Prithu and wish that they weren't so far away.
Cauliflower Masala :
1 head medium Cauliflower (sliced into small pieces)
1 Onion (sliced)
2 Garlic cloves (chopped)
1 slice fresh Ginger (sliced)
3-4 dried Bird's eye Chillies (crushed)
1 small Cinnamon stick (broken into smaller pieces)
1 Bay leaf (torn)
6 Curry leaves
1 Tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 Tsp Onion seeds
1 Tsp Ajwain seeds
1 Tsp Cumin seeds
3 Green Cardamoms (lightly bashed)
1/2 Tsp Fenugeek seeds
1/2 Tsp Fennel seeds
1 Tsp ground Turmeric
A pinch of ground Cloves
2 Tsp ground Coriander seeds
1 Tsp ground Chilli
2 Tsp ground Garam Masala
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tsp concentrated Tomato paste
1/2 cup hot Water
In a wok, blanch the cauliflower florets for 5 minutes in salted boiling water. Drain and set aside.
Heat some peanut or canola oil in the wok and fry the onion, ginger, garlic, whole spices, leaves and ground spices (except the garam masala) till fragrant.
Add the cauliflower and coat the florets well in the spices.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix the tomato paste in the hot water and pour over the cauliflower. Cover the wok and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the garam masala, mix well and serve.
I served it (more often than not) with basmati rice, fried pappadums and a not-too-dry Indonesian Beef Rendang. Hub and the Teenager played golf this morning with our German friend ML. They apparently played badly (except ML). Their only consolation was that they had a curry to come home to.