I’m back yet again with a special side for your meatless Monday should you choose to leave the meat off the table for at least one day, or if you are a vegetarian or vegan, another offering that you for sure want to incorporate into your selection of favorite recipes to serve up should you fancy Indian fare.
The keys to this wonderfully flavorful vegetable dish are to cook the cauliflower until just tender, to take care not to overcook the peas so you can enjoy that pop-in-your-mouth sensation, and to be rather gentle with the spicing, though you will want some Indian heat. Highly recommended from my kitchen year round, I will note that it is an ideal fresh dish to celebrate the near end of winter and the arrival of spring. And it’s easy to prepare, with some mindfulness to the right balance of everything that goes into the pot, but then oftentimes simplicity is the most gourmet and elegant dish on the table. Your dinner companions will marvel at the result.
Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry
- 4 to 5 fresh green chilies, partially seeded and chopped
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
- 1 medium cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
- generous handful of dried curry leaves, crumbled
- juice from 1 fresh lime
- handful of fresh parsley or coriander, chopped
Begin by making a coarse paste of the chilies and ginger in a mortar and pestle or blender. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and stir for 30 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Toss in the asafetida and quickly stir once.
Add the chili and ginger paste, cauliflower, turmeric, chili powder, ground coriander, salt and a few tablespoons of water, and stir well to coat the cauliflower with spices. Cover and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is just tender, stirring often.
Now add the peas, tomato and curry leaves, stir well, and continue to cook, covered, for another 5 minutes or until the peas are tender, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, stir in the lime juice and fresh parsley or coriander, reserving some for garnish, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Serve garnished with the remaining parsley or coriander with a dal soup, rice and [highlight]homemade chapati breads[/highlight] for a comforting and complete meal.
Yields 6 servings