It should not be allowed to be 65 degrees and summer one day and then snow the next night. The mood swings of the East Coast are wreaking havoc on my planning for each day. It continues to be on the cold side today, though without precipitation of any sort, and I suppose I must be happy with that. It is a day to be warm and inside, sit back, and enjoy my cookings. Make that, do my studying and work for the week ahead. Ah well. At least I can eat while studying.
I knew Sunday would be like this: unmotivating and full of sorrow at the work I have to do. This is why I cheated. I cooked this dish on Friday night while making riblets! I am so full of forethought sometimes. It is a simple dish too, and a healthy dish. It made me feel better about adding all those honey to said riblets. It is cauliflower.
Cauliflower? Yes, cauliflower. It is really a very underrated vegetable. It is so easy to cook, so full of nutrients, and so....not bad for you - by which I mean, its hard to make it have a lot of calories. After a few days of picking at banana bread and cookies and the bag of Lindt chocolates sent to you by your mother, sometimes you need to start thinking about veggies again.
I was on the phone with my mom figuring out what to do with the riblets, when I decided I may as well give in and seek help on the giant cauliflower in my fridge as well. "Put it in the microwave," was the first thing told to me. "Cook it whole, don't cut it," was the second. Don't cut the cauliflower? But don't you have to pull it apart into all of its little stalks to cook it properly? Apparently not.
So, this recipe came from my mom's mouth to my ears to your eyes, as so often happens. It's simple, requires very little prep and few ingredients, and it is good. The cauliflower is soft and cooked through, but not mushy. It has a subtle spicy, tomato flavor, that would go great with other curries and rice. Its always good to have a dry vegetable around to offset meaty curries. Now, having made an entire cauliflower, I am also going to freeze a large portion of it (after the photography session is over), so I can have balanced servings of vegetables in my future. Huzzah.
Serves 2-4 depending on the size of your Cauliflower
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Medium Sized Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1/4 tsp Ginger Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Ground Coriander
3 tbsp Tomato Paste
1/4 cup Milk
Cut the thick bottom stem of the cauliflower, but don't cut in so deep that the stalks become separated. Remove the leaves from the cauliflower, and rinse it under cold water. Place it in a microwavable bowl with a teaspoon of water in the bottom, and microwave it for 3-5 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. You want the cauliflower to give a little, but not be squishy.
Cooking the Cauliflower:
In a large frying pan or wok, heat the vegetable oil at medium heat. Then, add the onion, garlic, and ginger powder. Stir and fry up until the onions are translucent. Next, mix in the turmeric, garam masala, and ground coriander. Fry for another minute, until all the spices are combined. Next, add the tomato paste. Stir constantly and fry for two minutes, until it has turned a darker color. Once the tomato paste is nicely fried, stir in the milk. Once that is all combined, place the cauliflower head down into the wok, so the stems are facing you. Baste it with the liquid base so that it is covered nicely. Then, lower the heat, and put a lid on the pan. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovering and basting the cauliflower once in a while. When the cauliflower is soft all over, it is done. Take it out of the pan and put it on a plate to cool slightly. Then, use a knife to cut the stem away, so all the florets fall off (it might be easier to cut the whole thing in half first and then do this twice, once for each side). Now, you have your cauliflower ready to serve!
- Make sure you have a tight fitting lid because you want the steam to cook the cauliflowers that are not directly touching the bottom of the pan.
- If your curry base becomes far far too thick to baste the cauliflower with, but your cauliflower is still not cooked, just pick up the cauliflower, stir a little milk into the base, and then stick your cauliflower back in. My base was pretty thick, but I just basted the cauliflower and allowed it all to soak into the cauliflower, so it worked out fine.