I always struggle with the side dish. The main dish is easy to pick, the carb follows the main dish, dessert is good with whatever you choose. That leaves us with a side. What is that going to be.
While growing up it would be easy, whatever was available in the season. Eggplant, Okra in the summer. Cauliflower, Turnip and other root vegetables in winter. Hawkers would sell door to door. The wooden cart neatly arranged, they would call out their wares. There would be others who would tinkle their bells. They all came by at a fixed time. I remember at times anxiously waiting for the familiar call. Its something like the ice cream truck’s music here in the west.
Things have changed since. The season is not a hindrance anymore. Thanks to modren technology, produce from Peru or Ecuador can be at our doorstep in no time. We are spoilt with choices. Eggplant and Cauliflower could be rubbing shoulders in my refrigerator.
Coming back to the recipe, I love when part of the dish can be finished in the oven. That seems to free up valuable time. The beauty of this recipe is you can crank up the spices or go for a ‘less fiery’ option.
Friends do you have hard time deciding the side dish? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment..
Cauliflower 1 large
Onion 1/2 cup chopped
Garlic 3 cloves
Ginger 1/2 inch
Tomatoes 2 small
Canola oil 4 Tbsps
Salt To taste
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
Cilantro 1/2 cup chopped
Bay leaf 1
Cardamom pods 2-3, crushed
Green chilli 2 ( optional )
Pre heat oven to 350 F
Wash the cauliflower, leave it whole or divide it in two. Sprinkle salt and turmeric, keep aside.
Put the onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and chilli if using, in a blender and make a fine paste.
Take a deep bottom pan with a Tbsp oil on high heat. Put the bay leaf and cardamom pods in it, as soon as the pods crackle add the cauliflower. Fry for a minute or two until it gets a light brown colour. Take it out of the pan.
Add 2 Tbsps oil in the same pan and add the onion paste. Throw in the cumin, coriander powder. Check the salt, add more if needed now. Saute the Masala or spice paste on medium heat until the oil separates from the mixture, about 8-9 minutes. Put the gas off. Smear this mixture all over the cauliflower.
Take an oven safe vessel and add 1 Tbsp oil. Seat the cauliflower in it. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
Please do not get put off by the long list of ingredients. A small collection of these spices in your pantry can come handy in many Indian recipes.
While frying the spice mixture, keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.