Tag Archives: cauliflower

Indian Food that Tastes Like Indian Food: Aloo Gobi w/ Naan

20 Mar

As I previously mentioned, I am on an Indian food kick lately. In fact, I think I’ve eaten Indian food three times this week, which is certainly a lot for me! I’m constantly discovering new recipes by Aarti Sequeria, and have yet to be disappointed. I just hope that she comes out with a recipe for Nav Rattan curry, my absolute favorite Indian dish. I pleaded her to do so on Twitter; I hope she responds 🙂

My latest discovery was Aloo Gobi, which simply means potato and cauliflower….two of my favorite foods! (Side note: I was going to say “two of my favorite vegetables” but I’m not sure if potatoes can be considered vegetables or starches. It seems like I should know this, but I don’t).

With colors like these, how could it NOT taste fresh and flavorful?

It was so simple to make. It’s just a one-pot meal because the cauliflower and potato cook in the sauce. I suppose the only challenging part was making the ginger-garlic paste because I don’t have a mini food-processor, and in using a regular sized food processor, I had to keep pushing the ginger and garlic back down near the blade. But now I’ve made enough of the paste to use for making this recipe again next week 🙂 Also, I think I just need to buy a mini food processor because making pesto is also annoying.

The dish was extremely flavorful. My husband actually said that it tasted as good as India Garden, our favorite Indian restaurant, located in Indianapolis. India Garden is divine, so this was a real compliment.

I also tried my hand again at naan. My last attempt was decent, but did not taste quite like the real thing. However, this time was far better! I used chapati flour (found at an Indian grocery store) and rolled out the dough very thin.  Both of these small changes made a world of difference! It did taste just like what you could get at an Indian restaurant!

Only one thing puzzles me: when I watch the  naan baking in the oven, these wonderful bubbles pop up, as would be expected of naan. However, when I take them out of the oven, the bubbles deflate, so the naan looks flatter than it should. It doesn’t impact the flavor of course, but I would still prefer for the bubbles to remain. Any suggestions?

Aloo Gobi (recipe by Aarti Sequeria)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows, or 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 large serrano pepper, split down the middle leaving halves attached (note: remove seeds if desired; the more seeds you leave in, the spicier it will be)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (similar size to cauliflower)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro leaves, to garnish

Preparation:

  • Mix the Ginger-Garlic Paste, coriander, turmeric, and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. This is a simple wet masala (spice mix). Set aside.
  • In a large pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the serrano pepper, wait 30 seconds, and then add the cumin seeds and wait until they’re done spluttering.
  • Add the wet masala (careful, it will also splutter). Cook until the paste thickens, deepens in color slightly, and oil oozes out of the perimeter of the masala, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower and potatoes, stirring to coat the vegetables with the masala. Season with salt and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes. Then, remove the lid, stir, and cook until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Makes 2-4 servings.

Ginger-Garlic Paste (recipe by Aarti Sequeria)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Preparation:

  • Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste.
  • Save what you don’t use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It’s a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc.

Naan (adapted from recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chapati or bread or whole-wheat or all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled, plus 3 teaspoons
  • 3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Canola oil, as needed

Preparation:

  • Put the chapati flour into a large bowl and add the salt and the yeast. Use your fingers to mix and blend the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, the yogurt, and warm water. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment or, alternatively, with your hands, combine all of the ingredients. Knead the dough with the mixer on low speed until it becomes smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. Again, alternatively, knead the dough on a lightly floured flat surface.
  • Pour 2 teaspoons of melted butter into a bowl large enough to hold the dough. Coat the sides and bottom of the bowl with the butter and put the dough in the center. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and keep it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  • Using a pastry brush, lightly grease 2 baking sheets with some canola oil. Slide the baking sheets into the center of the oven for a few minutes. (Chef’s Note: Be careful to not leave the baking sheets in the oven for too long, otherwise you’ll risk the oil getting too hot and smoky.)
  • Gently roll the dough into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured surface so it is about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the disk into quarters. Roll each quarter to 1/8-inch in thickness and still be able to fit 2 on a baking sheet.
  • When all the ovals are rolled, brush off any excess flour. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and arrange the naan in a single layer, 2 pieces per pan. Bake until they are light brown and puffy, about 5 minutes. During the last minute of baking time, brush butter on the top of the naan (about 1 tsp), if desired.
  • Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the naan to a serving platter lined with kitchen towels to keep them warm.

Makes 4-8 servings.

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

19 Feb

If you’ve read some of my recent blogs, you’d know that I’ve essentially become obsessed with cauliflower. You may be thinking that it seems to be an odd vegetable to be the object of such enthusiasm, as it doesn’t really taste like anything. WRONG! It’s all in how you prepare the cauliflower. Simply roasting it with olive oil, salt, and pepper really brings out the cauliflower flavor. Roasting is cool like that.

Thus, roasted cauliflower has become a popular side dish in my house. I had been thinking I needed to find some other recipes where the cauliflower was elevated to be the star of the dish. As if by destiny, this month’s Food Network Magazine Italian Issue included an enticing recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Risotto. Of course I had to make it right away!

I loved the dish. My husband said it was the best risotto he’s ever had. It was incredibly creamy, with great cauliflower flavor in the risotto itself (from the chopped stems– brilliant). The roasted cauliflower and almonds on top provided amazing texture as well as substance.

Plus, it was so easy to make! You only have to “stir vigorously” once at the end. This part was a great arm workout, if only for 2 minutes 🙂 But other than that, you just let the risotto do its thing in the oven. What could be simpler?

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto

Roasted Cauliflower Risotto (adapted from Food Network Magazine March 2011)

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, florets cut into 1/2 inch pieces, stems chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups aborio rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 oz fontina cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

Preparation:

  • Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 475 F. Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tbsp olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Roast on the upper oven rack, 5 minutes. Add the almonds and raost until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 more minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the onion and cauliflower stems and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth, 2 cups of water, and 1 tsp salt; cover and bring to a boil. Transfer the pot to the lower oven rack and bake until the rice is tender, 15 minutes.
  • Remove the rice from the oven and add the butter, fontina, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir vigorously until the risotto is creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among bowls and top with the roasted cauliflower and almonds.

Makes 3-4 servings.

These twice-baked potatoes are a revelation!

1 Jan

Potatoes have always been my favorite food. Mashed potatoes, grilled potatoes, roasted potatoes, baked potatoes, and best of all, twice-baked potatoes! Yet, shockingly, my husband had never tried twice-baked potatoes up until a few months ago, when I decided to open his eyes to their wonder. I found a recipe on the Food Network website, made some tweaks, and served him his very first twice-baked potato. As expected, he was taken aback by how delicious they were and could not believe that he had lived all 30 years of his life without them. Now, he demands twice-baked potatoes practically every week. I’m OK with it, because I love them, too, but I get bored with always having the same thing. Thus, today I decided to make some adjustments. As previously mentioned, I am also becoming obsessed with cauliflower (as is my husband, who has declared it his new favorite vegetable), so I thought, why not combine the two?

Here is my recipe for Twice-Baked Cauliflower and Cheddar Potatoes:

Ingredients:

* 2 large russet potatoes
* 2 cups of cauliflower florets
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1/2 cup sharp shredded cheddar, plus more for topping
* Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation:

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

– Pierce potatoes with a fork. Place on center rack in oven and bake for one hour.

– Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Drain, and chop into small pieces.

– Remove potatoes from oven. Let cool slightly, then cut a canoe-like top out of the potatoes. Scoop the flesh (yes, this is a gross word, but what else can I call it?) into a mixing bowl.

– Add the cauliflower, butter, milk, cheddar, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Mash until creamy.

– Scoop the potato mixture into the potato skins. Top with additional cheddar.

– Set potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 more minutes, until potatoes are heated through and cheese is melted.

Makes 2 servings

I served these for dinner, along with vegetarian chix patties again (we really need to go grocery shopping). This new version with cauliflower received my husband’s approval (and mine)! I also recommend it with broccoli.

Happy New Year, by the way!

“Bring a vegetable”

22 Dec

I’m at my parents’ house for the holidays, so I don’t anticipate doing much cooking for a little while– we’ve been eating out a lot, and for the big Christmas meal, we’re going to my aunt’s house. My mom asked my aunt if she should bring anything, and to my mom’s surprise, my aunt said “yes, bring a vegetable.” My mom was just being polite by asking, but now is practically in a panic because she doesn’t know what to bring. She does not cook very often and has a very limited repertoire. In fact, one of her few specialties is deviled eggs (YUM), but she just recently suffered defeat in an intense workplace deviled egg competition. As a result, she has vowed to never make them again, despite my insistence that her eggs are amazing.

But I will help her out and browse for good recipes (suggestions welcome!), and then whip something up for Christmas. It’s just hard to know even where to start, because “vegetable” is so vague.

All I know is that I have suddenly become obsessed with cauliflower– an underestimated vegetable, in my opinion. I randomly bought some a few weeks ago, boiled it, buttered it, and seasoned it with salt and pepper– and viola! A masterpiece. Since then I’ve been buying it every week. Go out and buy some yourself– appreciate the cauliflower!

I’m just not sure if it’s right for a holiday meal. Unless maybe I roast it…roasted vegetables spell the holidays for me. Yes, there’s an idea.