Still on lock-down, and still experimenting with varied cuisines. I know. Most of us are home, enclosed by four walls, perhaps with kids and spouses demanding attention—and what the hell is for diner tonight? Or, perhaps, you just have time on your hands until the all clear. And you’re told you have to eat healthy in order to fight this coronavirus thing. That means a good veggie dinner—that even the kids will like.
Indian cooing is ubiquitous with regard to vegetarian dishes. They invented the thing. So I go back to the Indian repertoire. And cauliflower and peas is one of my favorites. It’s quick, delicious and nutritious. What more can you ask for? The normal accompaniment to this dish is white rice. Now, genuine Indian steamed rice is a little different from, let’s say, our Nuyorican or even Mediterranean version. They don’t spice it up like we do, so that it complements the heat in an a spicy entrée. Here’s a basic recipe: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in large pot. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup washed and drained rice. Add 1 tablespoon butter, stir and cover tightly. Simmer for 20 minutes. If, at the end of that time, the rice is not yet completely cooked and there is no water left in the bottom of the pan, add 4 tablespoons of warm water and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. The rice should feel soft and fluffy.
Note that in this recipe you can use either fresh shelled peas or frozen. If using fresh shelled peas, they are added first (as noted in recipe). If using frozen peas, the are added later (again, refer to recipe)
CAULIFLOWER AND PEAS
(Ghobi Aur Matar)
1 medium cauliflower, about 1 pound
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 cup fresh or frozen shelled peas
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon coriander powder
¼ cup water
Juice of half a lemon
- Separate the cauliflower into individual small buds or flowerettes. Wash, drain and set aside.
- In a small wok or frying pan, heat the oil over medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds have stopped popping and the cumin seeds have turned brown, add the cauliflower pieces, turmeric and salt. Sauté the cauliflower for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes.
- Uncover the pot and add the fresh shelled peas, if using, at this point, and the rest of the spices. Stir and mix together. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the water and frozen peas, if using, at this point, and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the vegetables. Mix once and serve with white rice.
Yield: 4 Servings