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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Cauliflower Masala Fry!

#4 Amma's Recipe

I have absolutely NO IDEA what this dish is called, nor does my mom who actually prepared this today for our lunch and taught me for the first time. She learnt this on her trip to Madurai way back before I was even born. She tasted this dish at a small 'hotel' (if you can even call that a hotel with a small kitchen that hardly gives way for more than two people) and was totally blown by it. She immediately requested the cook for the recipe and he was kind enough to take her through every step of its preparation. She immediately tried it as soon as she was back home and since then its been a Hit. And she swears till today, that she has never had the same cauliflower dish in any of the hotels again or never even seen it being prepared at any of the weddings. This is truly her most treasured recipe and if any of you have had this dish at any of the hotels or at anybody's home, do let me know I am all ears for your story! 

Now its a little time consuming to cook this dish but nevertheless I promise you will be blown by the flavours of it. This compliments absolutely anything; rice, roti, sambar rice, curd rice and they even taste great stuffed inside dosa and bread! 

Serves 5
You Will Need:

2 Large Onions, Sliced
2 Large Tomatoes, Roughly Chopped
1/2 Cup Water
Few Curry Leaves
Some Coriander Leaves, Roughly Chopped
Oil to Deep Fry
Salt to Season the Masala

For the Cauliflower:

1 Large Cauliflower
200g Besan Flour
Salt, Only to Season the Cauliflower
Pinch Red Food Colouring (Optional, we never use it)

For Masala:

2 inch Ginger
12 Cloves of Garlic
6 Cashew Nuts
A tbsp of Fennel Seeds
A tbsp of Cumin Seeds
2 Cardamom Pods
3 Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
1-1/2 tso Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder

The Cooking:

Cut the cauliflower into medium sized florets. Add them to salted boiling water and let it cook for 5 mins. Drain and place it in a large bowl. Add the besan flour and salt and mix sprinkling just enough water to bring everything together. 

Note: Cut the cauliflower into medium florets. There are 3 stages in cooking the cauliflower so you don't want them to be too small and all mashed up.

Place all the ingredients for the masala in a blender and grind it to a thick smooth paste adding little water. Keep aside until needed.

Heat oil to deep fry the cauliflower. Once the oil is hot add the cauliflower in batches. Fry on high heat till the cauliflower is just cooked but NOT CRISP! 

Note: Keep the heat high throughout frying the cauliflower, so that they don't soak up too much oil. 

Drain and keep aside. 

Heat 5 tbsp of Oil in a wok / a non - stick pan. Once the oil is hot add the sliced onions and sauté till pink and translucent. The onions need not brown since they will be further cooked in the masala. 

Now add the chopped tomatoes and sauté for couple of mins on high. 

Now that's done, add the ground masala to the onions and tomatoes. Season with salt.

Give it a quick stir just to mix everything together.

Now pour in the water and cook for about 4 - 5 mins on high stirring occasionally till the masala starts to bubble up and thicken. 

Once the raw flavours of the masala are gone and the masala has begun to thicken add the fried cauliflower.

Give a good stir to evenly coat the cauliflower with the masala. Make sure you are gently with the cauliflower, you don't want them going all mushy. 

Keep the flame high till the cauliflower soaks up all the masala and stir occasionally making sure you reach all the way to the bottom and make sure nothing sticks. Once the cauliflower has soaked up all the masala lower the heat and continue to cook the cauliflower dries up. 

Finally add the curry leaves and chopped coriander leaves and mix everything together. Cook for another couple of mins before taking off heat.

Serve hot with roti / rice or even stuff it between slices of bread!

Happy Cooking!


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