Aloo Gobhi with Peas – Ghee, Gratitude and Curries
This dish is familiar to anyone who frequents Indian restaurants or orders take-out or delivery from them. It’s simple yet deeply flavorful with only a handful of ingredients. I’ve discovered the secrets to Indian Cooking through Raghavan Iyer’s 660 Curries. There’s no turning back.
Cauliflower in the starring role
Today’s NWT S/O/L/E Food Tuesday entry is Cauliflower two ways.
This cruciferous veg is a wonderful treat, coming into its own right now in the markets. Peak season is late fall through spring. As a main ingredient, it can take on many flavors and can be nutty or luscious. Like any accomplished star, it will play well off others (peas, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes) in the party and has stunning versatility. Pickle it, puree it, mash it, bake it whole, caramelize it.
Cauliflower’s a nutrition Star
It’s very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese.
Phytochemicals in cauliflower are thought to be anti-oxidant, too. It’s increasingly thought to contribute to liver health and prostate health. Cauliflower may also inhibit cholesterol and triglyceride production. It is clear that we are only just beginning to understand how beneficial this vegetable star is!
One cup of cauliflower gives you 77% of your daily vitamin C. The “Cheddar” variety (it’s cheddar-orange!) in stores now contains 25 times the level of Vitamin A of white varieties.
Here’s one for the math geeks at your table – Romanesco – is a beautiful bright green and shaped in fractal-like cones. Purple cauliflower gets its color from anthocyanins found in black foods.
Pop goes the Mustard
Another delicious cauliflower recipe can be found here, at Serious Eats. This dish takes advantage of one of the eight techniques I learned from Iyer, that Indian cooks use to coax layers of flavors from spices.
The technique of toasting the spices first releases the essential oils. Beginning with a bit of neutral oil (Chef Iyer prefers Canola) in the pan, one adds cumin seed and mustard seeds. Have a lid handy for soon the tiny mustard seeds will be popping like popcorn!
Cauliflower is caramelized in the hot pan to achieve both a gorgeous dark crust (maillard reaction) and a layer of flavor. Here is another recipe that takes advantage of cauliflower’s caramelizing character.
Did you know?
- The word “curry” is unknown in any of the 23 official languages or 1,600 dialects in India.
- In addition to bitter, sour, salty, sweet and umami, Asians add pungent and astringent as flavor components to be considered in cooking and eating.
- Eight techniques can pull eight characteristics from one spice: whole coriander seed has one flavor. Another when dry toasted; another when toasted then ground; or, oil toasted; or, oil toasted then ground; ground untoasted; soaked in liquid; ground after soaking.
Find more here:
- 660 Curries, © 2008 by Raghavan Iyer, Workman Publishing ISBN:978-0-7611-3787-0
- 660 Curries Website
- To read my post, Cooking with Ghee and Gratitude, click here.