November 03, 2006
Gobi Chole/ Curried Cauliflower with Chickpeas
When I see an Indian recipe in an American Cookbook, I am curious. How did they present it? What recipe is it? Is it authentic? Is it misrepresenting my mainland? So naturally, I was intrigued to find a recipe for an Indian curry powder and corresponding vegetable stir fry in Tyler Florence’s new cookbook, Eat This Book, Cooking with Global flavors. It was presented very simply, along with the other easy to make everyday recipes from global cuisines. It used ready ingredients, like canned chickpeas and a previously prepared curry powder. It had even streamlined our multi step process into a simple skillet meal, which even novices could make with flair.
As an experiment, I tried it at home with all the skepticism of a food snob but couldn’t stop myself from changing certain items. The final taste was quite accurate and the preparation was easy. The best part was that it managed to give some flavor to the cauliflower.
The curry powder is a concept used mostly outside of India, popularized by the English. It is a generic name for the broad based blend of spices used in Indian cooking. But the different regions of India have differing cuisines and consider their spice mixes unique and individualistic. To classify all the spice mixes together as a “curry” mix is akin to making a mash (kichdi)out of the various flavors!
So when I analyzed Tyler’s curry mix, it called for ground mustard seeds which I omitted as I don’t recall chickpeas (chole) having ground mustard seeds. I also replaced his ready mix with my own garam masala and chili powders. I had to increase the chili powder to bring up the level of spice to offset the sweetness of the tomatoes. So I didn't end up making it with a curry powder as he suggested but here is my version with the spices.
I added raw scallions as garnish to add a bite just as the dhabhas in Delhi top the chickpeas with raw cut onions, green chilies and tomatoes. Feel free to skip the scallions if you don’t like the taste of raw onions.
You will need: Serves 4-5 so half it the first time you try it.
Chickpeas- 1 small can washed and drained
Cauliflower- 1/2 small head cut into florets
Onion-1 small, finely chopped
Ginger -3/4 inch piece, julienned
Tomato-2 plum ripe ones
Tomato Paste-1 tbsp
Red chili powder-3/4 tsp
Coriander seeds-3/4 tsp( toasted and powdered)
Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp ( toasted and powdered)
Black Pepper-1/2 tsp
Garam Masala- 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves-1/4 cup chopped
Scallions (green onions)-1 stalk chopped fine for garnish
Canola/vegetable Oil-3 tbsp
Salt-1/4 tsp (to taste)
Heat the oil in a deep skillet or cast iron wok over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger and sauté, stirring, for a few minutes to soften the onion. Then add the spice powders and sauté for a minute, and add the tomatoes. Cook till the tomatoes break down and soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and 1 cup water to dissolve the paste. Gently fold in the cauliflower and chickpeas. Add the salt. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is cooked, about 15 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and coated the cauliflower and chickpeas.
Take it off the flame, add more salt if needed and add the coriander and scallion leaves.
P.S. I don't make and keep this ready as I believe its just as easy to use the different spices in the proportion described above.For those who have no reservations on curry powder, I have reproduced the curry powder below as he described it exactly.
Tyler’s Indian Curry powder mix (makes about ½ cup)
Red chili powder-1 tbsp
Coriander seeds-2 tbsp
Cumin seeds-1 tbsp
Fennel Seeds-1 tsp
Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
Cardamom seeds-1 tbsp
Black Peppercorns-1 tbsp
In a skillet, combine all the whole spices except the turmeric and toast over medium heat till the spices smell fragrant. Shake the pan often to prevent the spices from getting burnt. Let it cool and then powder in a clean coffee grinder and add turmeric. Store in a sealed jar for up to 2 months.
I am sending some of this to Kalyn's Kitchen for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging.
Cauliflower Sidedish, Chickpeas, Food Blog, Indian Recipes, Vegan