A few years ago, I found myself staring at luscious cauliflowers in the produce section with wonder and it was only then that I realized that I cooked only with frozen cauliflower. I vowed to change that immediately and placed a gorgeous cauliflower head in my cart. My heart sang all the way home because I knew I would be biting into the fresh taste of that crunchy crucifer that I had been missing all this time.
I set it up on my cutting board with great gusto and started removing all the outer leaves carefully. My father-in-law had told once me that those leaves were edible and quite nutritious but right now I was more interested in the "white curd" of the head. From the corner of my eye, I saw a very plump and very green young leaf move slightly. I turned the cauliflower to address that leaf and the other leaves that were still attached to the head in that area. I cut through the leaf only to see it start to ooze and wiggle like it was possessed.
That green leaf was a humongous green worm, fattened by all the minerals in the vegetable. My husband says I screamed the house down. I don't remember. I just remember curling up on the floor and wishing that the cauliflower and its resident would just disappear.
Needless to say, I had forgotten why I bought only frozen cauliflower. You see if there are a hundred cauliflowers in the produce bin, I pick the only one with worms in it. Such is my luck.
I went back to buying frozen cauliflower until very recently. I still don't care for worms in my produce but I have become more used to different types of worms after attempting to make a vegetable patch in my backyard this past summer. Medha is a fan of worms; she indulges in baby talk with earthworms that she holds her in her palm. She has dangled them in front of my face several times to see if my reaction changes over time; a scientific experiment, she says, to see if the data will change over a period of time. My screams are no longer as shrill as they used to be but my threats have become worse. And How to Eat Fried Worms also helped quite a bit. I sat through it without throwing up.
Cauliflower still remains one of our favorite vegetables and I am glad it does. If properly washed and cleansed of all trails that worms might have left behind, I love to eat it raw. I don't like it cooked or boiled into a soggy mess but I do love it when it's cooked well. Anita calls it al dente; I call it just right or tender but crisp.
There are so many ways in which to cook cauliflower that when my sister wouldn't stop raving about her friend Sushma's mouth-watering recipe, I just rolled my eyes. But she's not one to give up and made it for me when she visited. And I was hooked. It didn't have ginger like most aloo gobi ki subzis do, it had crushed garlic!
Sushma's Aloo Gobi
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 3-4 medium red potatoes
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 and 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, adjust to taste
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- salt to taste
- Cut the cauliflower into large florets, about 2 inches in size.
- Peel and dice the potatoes into slim chunks, about 1/4 inch by 1 inch. We will be adding the potatoes along with the cauliflower and we want them to cook without having to overcook the cauliflower.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan.
- Add crushed garlic. Before it browns, add cumin seeds, red chilli powder and turmeric powder.
- Take the saucepan off the stove and add cumin powder and coriander powder.
- Add cauliflower florets, potatoes and salt. Toss or stir well.
- Cover, return to stove and cook on a high flame until the cauliflower starts browning and the potatoes are cooked. Sprinkle with a little water to help the potatoes if they are taking too long to cook.
- Also dilute the tomato paste in 1/4 cup water, mixing it well into a thick paste.
- When the cauliflower is tender yet crisp and the potatoes have cooked, add the thick tomato paste and sprinkle the garam masala.
- Mix well in an almost folding-like action, briskly moving the cauliflower and potatoes from the bottom up.
- Cook for another 5 minutes, uncovered.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with parothas or rotis and yogurt.
- I like to add some chopped green chillies towards the end for an added kick.
- Any fragrant garam masala will do. If you would like to make your own, try this garam masala. Or you could use a store-bought garam masala. It's always better to make your own because you are sure you are using the choicest ingredients but not everyone has the time or the energy, in which case I think it's perfectly alright to use store-bought garam masala.
It look like it's raining cauliflower on the food blogs and that, too, without an event! I think it may have to do with it being a winter vegetable, with the growing season ending towards the end of October and even end of November in some places. Here are some of the mouth-watering recipes posted in the last couple of weeks:
Anita's Sookhi Aloo Gobhi
Ashwini's Gobi ka Kheema
Indira's Aloo Gobi with Kasuri Methi
Nupur's Spicy Cauliflower Soup
And now it's time to whoop a bit, do some virtual cartwheels and while I am at it, I might as well fly down a ski slope, too! I'm celebrating 30 consecutive days of posting, as part of NaBloPoMo. It was a lot of work and challenging at times but I did it! I did it!
I found some great local blogs, made some wonderful new friends and connected with several other bloggers. I hope to have a list of these blogs up soon!
Yay me!! And yay to all my NaBloPoMo friends and writers who wrote every day through the month of November! And yay to those to who joined in late and wrote with as much fervor!
For those of you, like Sandeepa, who want "nice" stuff to read everyday, I have some bad news. My blog will be going silent for at least a week while I try and rest those tired fingers, get some much needed sleep and catch up on my life! And you may not place bets on how long it will last! At least a week. Well, maybe a week. Or...