Still catching up on stuff we made over the last couple of weeks here, but some of these were so good, I absolutely have to talk about it :) Which calls for this condensed roundup!
I was poking around India's 500 best recipes and stumbled upon this cauliflower stew that looked really interesting. And quite simple to make. Like most south indian stews, it asked for a coconut base, but I opted for a lighter sauce and used a combination of light coconut milk and dehydrated coconut powder instead - worked better than I expected since the coconut was only the ancillary flavor and let the cauliflower dominate the dish. Yay! Speaking of cauliflowers, I *love* separating the florettes! Even more with cauliflowers than broccoli. So cathartic, and I always go through this crazy decision process - How big should the pieces be? Should I cut the florettes up? Slice them or split them? So many choices! :)
Ok, back to the stew - I love the simplicity of this recipe - the main flavors just come from ginger, garlic and green chillies, with tamarind for adding tartness. When I first stumbled upon this recipe, I wasn't quite convinced about the flavors. No coriander or cumin or fenugreek or cinnamon or cardamom or anise or any other spice? Weird!! Well, I ate my words (and plenty of the stew!) The simplicity was definitely the essence - and it tasted and smelled fabulous! :)
1 large cauliflower - florettes separated/cut into small pieces
2 small roma tomatoes - chopped
1 smallish vidalia onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 green chillies
1 t turmeric
1 T safflower oil
1.5 cups light coconut milk
1 cup water
1 t brown sugar
1 t tamarind pulp soaked in a 3T of warm water
Grind the onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies into a coarse paste in a food processor.
Heat the oil and fry this paste with the turmeric till the aroma gets really strong, but avoid browning it.
Add the cauliflower and toss till the pieces are coated with the paste.
Now add the coconut milk, water, sugar and salt and simmer for about 10-12 minutes.
Toss in the tamarind and chopped tomatoes - cook for about 3-4 minutes before taking off the stove.
This worked great with some naan from Trader Joe's - I really meant to make some, but got too hungry :)
Next in the roundup was this pretty different daal - with beans and squash! I was a little apprehensive about trying it, but I really wanted to use up the last of the butternut squash I had sitting in the fridge, so I decided to throw it in with some green beans and make a daal. The main inspiration for this combination is the killer green beans and kabocha squash dish at one of our favorite restaurants in Seattle - Monsoon. Absolutely divine :)
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1/2 butternut squash
1/2 cup each of tuar daal, masoor daal and channa daal
4 cloves garlic - smashed
1 t sesame oil
1 T cumin seeds
1 T red chilli powder
1 t sumac powder
2 T lemon juice
a handful of chopped cilantro
Mix the daals and cook in 3+ cups of water till softened.
Peel and cut the squash into small chunks - this was a pain since butternut squash has a rigid skin and is hard to peel and cut - but we opted to do this instead of baking it since we wanted to preservce the chunks and not soften it completely.
Heat the oil in a wok and brown the cumin and garlic in it. Add the beans and squash chunks along with 1/3 cup of water and cook covered on low for 8-10 minutes.
Add the seasonings and salt and cook for another 5-7 minutes till the veggies are done.
Season with the lemon juice and cilantro.
This went well with mediterranean flatbread as well as the yummy pulao that follows :)
Ok, so we had a hankering for a rice dish. And we had a ton of crimini mushrooms waiting to be eaten. A long time ago, long before I fell in love with mushrooms, I tried this mushroom pulao and was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was - and now that I'm all about most mushrooms (still not a big button and unmarinated portabello fan), we figured it was time to try out the mushroom pulao that I could smell in my head :)
2 cups of crimini mushrooms - finely sliced
12 stalks of asparagus - chopped into 1" pieces
4 garlic cloves - sliced
2 cups of brown basmati rice
1 T olive oil
1 t cumin seeds
2 cardamom pods
1 2" cinnamon stick
1 T cayenne pepper
Wash the rice and soak it in water for about 30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a wok and add all the spices plus the garlic and salt.
Add the mushrooms and asparagus and saute for about 4-5 minutes.
Strain the basmati rice through a colander before adding it into the wok.
Stir gently to mix things up, without breaking the grains of rice (since they are softened by soaking in water)
Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil before lowering the heat. Cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes.
Before serving, stir up the rice gently with a fork to mix the spices up once more.
Perfect! The rice was light and fluffy, the mushrooms aromatic, the end result was immensely satisfying! :)