Baked Cauliflower

Cauliflower is the star of the culinary world right now with recipes like pizza crusts, rice, etc. It’s one of the best substitutes for a low-carb diet. It’s naturally high in fibre and B-vitamins, has antioxidants and phytonutrients that fight against cancer. It also has choline which is important for learning and memory and lots of other nutrients.

This veggie has a sweet, nutty flavour and is so versatile. It adds smoothness to sauces and texture to other dishes. The recipe that I have chosen is a very old one and it is very popular in North Indian cuisine. It’s called Gobi Mussalam – which literally translates to Whole Cauliflower. The entire cauliflower is marinated with spices and baked.

The result is superb – a tender, moist and spicy cauliflower that just melts in the mouth.

This recipe appeared in the Washington Post and the link is given below.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/recipes/baked-cauliflower-gobi-musallam/16830/

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PREP: 30 minutes  COOK TIME: 50 minutes  SERVES: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower, washed
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup ghee+2 tbsp
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ginger
  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 1″ piece cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp almonds
  • 1/4 cup coconut, grated
  • 4 tbsp yogurt
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Grind the green chillis, garlic, ginger, chilli powder and garam masala. Mix lemon juice and salt to this paste. Keeping the cauliflower whole, insert this paste between the florets. It’s easier to do this by turning it over and inserting the paste between the florets. Smear some paste on the top as well. Bring water to a boil in a steamer and steam the cauliflower for 10 minutes or until it is half cooked. Try to keep it in a vertical position. If that’s not possible, then you can gently turn it over after 5 minutes and steam it on the other side for 5 minutes.

Grind all the ingredients for the marinade except the garlic, onions, tomatoes and yogurt.

Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a large pan and add the garlic. Add the onions and cook until they are tender. Add the tomatoes and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the ground paste and salt. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring constantly adding the yogurt one tablespoon at a time. Remove and cool.

Cover the cauliflower with half of the ground paste, dot with ghee and bake for about 15 minutes until it is browned on top and the cauliflower is evenly cooked. Remove from the oven and spread the remaining paste over it. Bake for another 10 minutes more.

Garnish with chopped fresh coriander. Serve with steamed rice.

 

Coconut Fudge

Coconut in any form, be it raw or cooked is delicious. The many products of coconut and the amazing health benefits derived from them is now widely known. It’s indispensable in Asian cooking.

I fell in love with this fudge when I was a little girl and my love for it is still the same. It just melts in the mouth. It’s called Barfi in India and it’s so easy to make. It has only five ingredients including the nuts. There’s no butter or ghee that needs to be added.

I usually use cardamom with this recipe. However, vanilla extract also works well. I also usually break the nuts into large pieces. It’s tastier this way.

A large coconut will yield about 3 cups when grated; sometimes a little more or less depending on the size. This recipe makes about 15 pieces of fudge.

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large coconut, grated
  • 1 3/4th cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder/1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cashewnuts, broken into large pieces

Instructions

Butter an 8” square pan.

Process the grated coconut in a food processor or blender without adding any water. It should not be ground into a paste. It should just be a little smoother than it was before.

Mix the sugar and water in a large pan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring it to boil, and using a sugar thermometer, boil it to the thread stage (106-112 C). Add the coconut and reduce the heat. Keep stirring continuously, until the mixture leaves the sides of the vessel. Remove from heat and stir in the cardamom powder or vanilla extract and the nuts. Mix well and turn it out on to the buttered pan. Cut into pieces while it is still warm. Enjoy!

Milk Sweetmeat

This is one of my favourite Indian sweets. It’s just made with two ingredients, milk and sugar. It takes some time, but believe me the final result is worth it.

I have many happy memories of eating this sweet in my childhood days. This is the way it’s made in one particular region of Tamilnadu which is very famous for this confection. The sugar is added at the end, when the liquid content of the milk has evaporated and it has become thick. However, you can also add the sugar in the beginning and then reduce the milk to a thick solid, which can be cooled and even shaped into little balls.

The traditional name for this Indian sweet is called Palkova. Pal literally means milk and kova is thickened milk. Kova is used as a base for many Indian sweets. It can be made with or without sugar. In India, Kova can be bought in special markets and used to make sweets, especially during festive seasons like Diwali.

The way that I have made it, it’s just meant to be eaten much like ice cream or custard. But it’s so rich, you wouldn’t be able to eat more than a spoonful at a time.

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PREP: 5 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour SERVES: 4

Ingredients

  • 5 cups full cream milk
  • ½ cup+2 tbsp granulated sugar

Bring the milk to a boil in a large non-stick pan. Reduce the heat and simmer stirring every ten minutes or so. After some time the milk will become thicker and change in colour. Keep going.

At one point, the milk will solidify and start to leave the sides of the pan. Add the sugar and continue stirring until it becomes thick and has the consistency of cooked oatmeal. Remove from heat and cool. Garnish with raisins or nuts.

 

 

Hot Lentil Rice Dish

This dish is a favourite from the Southern state Karnataka. It is called Bisi Bele Bath, a spicy rice dish with lentils. This is a very unique dish from the Kannada cuisine and this recipe is very tasty.

This rice dish is different from the Sambar Rice prepared in Tamilnadu.

It’s important to dry roast the ingredients for the spice mix and blend to a fine powder. If dry coconut is not available, you can dry roast some fresh coconut until it is dry and use that instead. Tamarind paste can be substituted for fresh tamarind.

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It’s very essential to use ghee for seasoning the rice. I usually fry the cashewnuts in the ghee. There’s nothing that can replace the aroma and taste of ghee.

I have used peas but you can substitute it with any vegetable of your choice – carrots, potatoes, broccoli or cauliflower. It is a really wholesome dish and can be prepared for breakfast or lunch.

Hot Lentil Rice Dish

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup yellow toor dal (split pigeon peas)
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Salt to taste

For the spice mix

  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ tbsp urad dal
  • 6 red chillis
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 6 tbsp dried coconut (copra)
  • ½ tsp shahjeera
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds

For Seasoning

  • ½ tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 10 sambar onions (shallots)
  • Curry leaves
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100 gms cashewnuts (split)
  • ½ cup ghee

Dry roast all the ingredients for the spice mix and blend to a fine powder.

Cook the rice and dal in a rice cooker with 8 cups of water. It should be well cooked. Add the tamarind paste, salt and the spice mix and mix well. Allow to cook for a few minutes more.

Heat the oil for the seasoning, and add the mustard. When they stop popping add the dal. When the dal is golden, add the curry leaves and onions. When the onions are cooked, add the seasoning to the rice and dal mixture. If it is dry, add a cup of hot water. Add the frozen peas and mix well.

Heat the ghee and add the cashewnuts. Reserve a few for decoration and add the remaining with the ghee to the rice. Mix well.

Serve hot, garnished with fried cashewnuts.