Sauteed Cauliflower and Green Peas
In all cauliflower dishes, the quality of the vegetable is paramount. Look for crisp, tightly packed white flowerets and bright green leaves. It is important to cut the flowerets into uniform pieces, but the success of the dish really lies in slow, gentle braising; the cauliflower cooks in its own juice and seasonings until the flowerets are butter-soft and the stems tender-crisp. Garden-fresh peas are in a class of their own, but good-quality frozen baby peas are sometimes better than “fresh” peas from the store, and certainly much less work.
This type of dry cauliflower dish is popular for a simple lunch throughout Uttar Pradesh.
Preparation time (after assembling ingredients): 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25- 30 minutes
• Ghee or vegetable oil – 4 table spoons (60 ml)
• Scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger root – ½ table spoon (7 ml)
• Cumin seeds – 1 ¼ teaspoons (6 ml)
• Curry leaves or 1 bay leaf – 8 – 10
• Cauliflower (about 3 pounds/1.5 kg), trimmed, cored and cut into flowerets 1 ½ * 1 * ½ inches (4 * 2.5 * 1.5 cm) – 1 large
• Turmeric – ½ teaspoon (2 ml)
• Paprika or cayenne pepper – ¼ teaspoon (1 ml)
• Chopped fresh coriander, parsley or chervil – 3 table spoons (45 ml)
• Fresh peas (about 1 pound/455 g in pods) or frozen baby peas, defrosted – 1 cup (240 ml)
• Salt – 2-4 table spoons (5 ml)
• Plain yogurt, sour cream or cream – 1/3 cup (80ml)
• Brazil nut curls or parsley sprigs for garnish (optional)
1. In a heavy 5-quart/liter nonstick saucepan, heat the ghee or oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Fry the cumin seeds until they brown, then drop in the curry leaves or bay leaf, and in a few seconds stir in the cauliflower. Sprinkle with turmeric, paprika or cayenne and half of the fresh herb. Stir-fry until the cauliflower is lightly browned. Add the fresh peas and 2-4 table spoons (30-60 ml) of water, cover and reduce the heat to low. Stirring occasionally, cook for 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. If you are using frozen peas, drain well and add for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking.
2. Before serving, mix in the salt, remaining herb and yogurt, sour cream or cream. If desired, garnish each serving with Brazil nut curls or parsley spigs.
4 or 5
4 or 5
By Yamuna Devi Dasi