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18 March, 2014

Phool Kofi Aloor Dalna (Cauliflower with Peas & Potatoes)

Posted in : Main Courses & Sides on by : Ratna

Cauliflower  with  peas  and  potatoes

 

Phool kofi-689

The  clocks  have  moved  forward.  Sprung  forward.  Adjusting  the  clock  could  be  a  bit  confusing  sometimes.  The  way  I  remember  is  we  go  to  work  an  hour  early.  The  thought  of  going  to  work  early  may  not  be  something  to  look  forward  to,  for  anybody,  me  included.  There  still  is  an  excitement  with  the  words  “sprung  forward”.  This  also  means  somewhere  I  see  the  words  “Spring”.  Ah  yes,  Spring.

The  picture  of  Tulip  heads  swaying  with  the  wind  and  chirping  of  the  birds  immediately  come  to  mind.  Alas,  I  do  not  see  any  of  those  yet.   Ravens  and   Magpies  are  the  resident  bird  species   around.   They  don’t  seem  to  mind  the  weather.  Their  nests  now  exposed  in  between  the  branches  of  the  leafless  trees,  looking  like a  game  of  tic  tac  toe.    The  sun  tries  hard  to  melt  the  snow.  It  barely  makes  a  dent  some days  even  with  the  help  of  its  accomplice  the  wind. The  lakes   were  frozen  solid  untill  a  week  back.   The  neighbourhood  kids  took  advantage  of  this  by  playing  a  game  of  hockey  on  it.

Growing  up  Cauliflower  was  a  vegetable  of  winter.  Cauliflower  of  all  sizes  used  to  flood  the  markets.  With  school  being  closed  for  the  christmas  holidays,  we  would  sleep  in.  Breakfast  would  be  a  lazy  affair.  Friends  would  stop  by  late  morning.  We  played  badminton.  The  proper  court  was  a  few  blocks  away.  We  played  impromptu  games  on  makeshift  courts.  The  branches  of  the  mango  tree  of  Anita  Kakima”s  house  to  the  poinsettia  bush  in  our  house  used  to  be  the   net  line.  Marked  on  the  ground  for  better  reference  using  a  few  irregular  twigs  from  the  garden.  Ma  and  Baba  tended  to  our  garden,  as  if  that  was  another  of  our  sibling.  Rose,  Chrysanthemum,  Dahlia  in  round,  rectangular  beds  would  reward  their  efforts  manifold.  We  would  straddle  our  feet  very  carefully   between  the  two  flower  beds . The  effort  paid  most  of  the  times.  The  shuttle  cock  would  put  us  in  big  trouble  sometimes,  landing  on  the   pink  Damask  rose,  that  was  so  perfect  until  then.

Phool kofi-602

The  smell  of   cauliflower  being  cooked  would  waft  from  our  kitchen  window. That  would  be  our  cue  to  wind  up  the game  soon.  Ma  would  be  asking  us  to  get  ready  for  lunch.

Phool kofi-688

There  would  be  days  when  she  would  ask  us  for  help.  Cutting  some  vegetables  or  shelling  the  peas. “Dekho,  hath  keto   na”,  she  would  caution,  careful,  don’t  cut  your  hand.  In  between  stirring  the  Dalna,  she  would  run  her  eyes  on  the  Thonga,  the  carrier  bags.  The  ‘Thongas’  were  made  from  old  newspapers,  unlike  the  brown  paper  bags  we  have here.  There  were  two  windows  in  the  kitchen.  The  one  faced  east  led  the  eyes  towards  our  garden,  her  children  playing.  “Let  me  take  a  look  at  your  knee”,   she  would  demand  rightfully  some days,  “Pore  gele  dekhlam”.  “Saw  you  slip”.  The  north  facing  window  gave  a  view  of  the  road  leading  to  the  neighbourhood  properties.  Why  was  the  ambulance  waiting  in  front  of  Meeradi’s  house,  she  worried.  Ma  had  the  pulse  for  our  house  and  of  the  neighbourhood,  sitting  on  her  low  stool  in  the  kitchen.  A  pilot  in  the  cockpit, all  the  while   humming  a  few  lines  from  her  favourite  Rabindra  Sangeet.  Talk  about  multitasking.

Phool kofi-691-2

We  have  made  progress.  One  doesn’t  have  to  wait  for  winter  to  have  cauliflower  or  peas.  Mangoes  can  be  enjoyed   year  round.  Snow  could  be  on  grounds  in  the  Prairies,   it  is  still  summer  in  Peru  or  Mexico.  Novel  methods  of  storing  and  transporting   almost  anything  to  anywhere ,  anytime  has  been  made  possible.  Nature  has  been  put  on  the  backseat.  Apparently  we  want  things  here, now.

Friends,  do  you  have any  fond  memories  of  food  with  a  particular  season?  What  are  your  thoughts  on  eating  seasonal?

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Cauliflower                    Half  head  of  a  big  cauliflower,  cut  into  medium  florets.

Potatoes                       Two  medium,  cut  into  small  cubes.  I  keep  them  skin  on.

Green  peas                  Half  cup  shelled.  I  used  frozen.

Tomatoes                     Four  medium  chopped  into  small  cubes

Cilantro                        Chopped,  two  tsp

Bay  leaf                      Couple

Ginger                           One  inch  grated

Cumin  seeds                One  and  half  tsp

Turmeric  powder         One  half  tsp

Chilli  powder                 One  quarter  tsp

Coriander  powder        Two  tsp

Cumin  powder             One  tsp

Salt                                To  taste

Canola  oil                      Four  tbsp

Ghee                               One  tsp

Garam  masala               One  tsp

Method:

Put  the  canola  oil  in  a  wok  on  high  heat.  Add  cumin  seeds  and  bay  leaf  when  the  oil  is hot.  As  soon  as  the  cumin  seeds  get  a  bit  of  colour  and  a  nice  smell  comes  out,  throw  in  the  potatoes.  Sprinkle  salt  and  turmeric.  Saute  till  the  corners of  the  potatoes  turn  golden.  Cover  a  bit.  Add  the  cauliflower  florets  now. Give  it  a  nice  stir.  Lower  the  gas  to  medium.  In  a  small  bowl  add  cumin,  coriander,  chilli  powder  and  the  chopped  tomatoes.  Make  a thick  paste  by  adding  water.  Add  this  paste  to  the  wok.  Stir  intermittently  until  the  oil  separates  from  the  spices.  Careful  it  doesn’t  get  burned.  Now  add  three  cups  of  water  and  the  grated  ginger.  Cover  and  let  it  cook  till  done.  The  gravy  should  be  thick,  adjust  water  accordingly.  Put  the  gas  off,  add  the  peas,  ghee  and  garam  masala.  Garnish  with  chopped  cilantro.  Keep  covered  until  serving.

Check  the  taste.  Enjoy  with  rice . You  can  also  make  it  into  a  wrap,  using  tortillas  or  rotis   with  a  little  bit  yoghurt  by  the  side.

Inside  scoop:

Ma  Baba               Mum  and  Dad.

Taste  the  Dalna,  adjust  to  your  taste.  My  husband  N,  likes  things  a  bit  sweet,  so  I  squirt  a  bit  of  Tomato  Ketchup  towards  the  end.

Dalna  is  a preparation where  the  gravy  is  thicker.

Meeradi                      Di  or  Didi  is  respectfully suffixed name,  when  the  person  is  older

Kakima                      Dad’s  brother’s  wife.  Loosely  used  for  aunty.

Garam  masala         Available  in  stores.  “How  to”  in  another  post.

Special  occasions  demand  less  healthy  options.  The  cauliflower  and  potatoes  for  those  occasions  are  fried  separately,  then  the  above  recipe  followed.  For  everyday  cooking  I  try  to  limit  the  oil.

By  Ratna

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