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
Turmeric-1/4 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
Cloves-1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
Cardamom seeds-1 tbsp
Black Peppercorns-1 tbsp
Turmeric-1 tsp
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.
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Krithika said...

I did record his show where he featured this recipe on Food911. I am now curious to try it since you have certified it. Looks delicious.

Shankari said...

I am a big food snob, but I am also learning that if I cook by the book or blog post they come out real well

Jayashree said...

Looks just like the pic in the book that's shown in the background.

Ashwini said...

Hmm...interesting that you tried it. I'd have steered clear. You already know my feelings about "curry powder" :-)
I am going to try you version!!
PS - as an experiment why don't you make a non Indian dish from the same book and compare? Just a thought...

Priya S&S said...

I have tried the exact version of Gobi Chole by Tyler, from Food Network . It did turn out tasty, my husband's American colleagues liked it. But Personally I feel it needed chilli powder and as U said Garam Masala would be better than curry powder.

mandira said...

Hey Shaheen, that sounds interesting. I like the changes you have done in the recipe. Will try your version over the weekend. Thanks for sharing!

Meena Kandlakuti said...

nice photo as usual..and good recipe..Iam waiting to try couple of recipes with cauliflower which I have found freom my fellow is yours:-) Thanks for sharing

Sandeepa said...

Hi shaheen,
Like your version shall try out...
never had gobi with chole before, with peas yes but chole no.

archana said...

This photo looks so lovely that i might keep my reservations about the "curry powder" off to give it a try. Thank you.

Foodie's Hope said...

Excellent photos these days.What changed?!:))

Looks yummy! Thank you, Shaheen!

Anonymous said...

chole n gopi....mmm nvr tried the combination before....looks gud.

and don't forget my request.

Kalyn said...

I have to admit, I know nothing about making my own spice blends for Indian cooking, but your garam masala sounds like I could manage it. I've made several dishes from this book and all were quite fantastic. I never liked him that much on the food network, but I have to admit, the man can cook.

Lakshmiammal said...

First time in your blog. Great picture.Perfect background.The dish looks as in the book. Should be visiting often.

Menu Today said...

Cauliflower and Chole,new combination to try.. Thanks for sharing. Lovely Pic..

Nabeela said...

oh Shaheen, I know exactly what you mean...I judge a global cuisine recipe book by how authentic the Indian recipe they show-cased is!! And most often than not, those recipes have nothing whatsoever to do with does make me wonder if all the "italian" & "moroccan" recipes I try fom my cookbooks are really authentic......:)

gattina said...

after I learnt blending own garam masala from you guys, I can't go back to ready mix curry powder.
I like Tyler, his recipes usually are written and tested very well. But I believe, you changing some spices probably is one of the factors to this delicious dish :)

Shaheen said...

Krithika:I normally find his shows a little sloppy an dnever trusted it. but the book has interesting and simplistic recipes whisch do come out well.

Ashwini: I did try a couple more and liked them... will post those next like u said.I know how u feel abt curry powder, so don't use that, but try the combination.
Finally If u know how to cook, I guess we end up making it taste good by instinct.

Jayshree: I kind of modelled the photo similarly for effect.

Shankari:If u like one person's cooking style, u will end up liking most of their recipes..right?

Priya: i agree, it definitely was too spiced down to our levels..

Mandira:Do try and let me know what variations u added.

Shaheen said...

Meena:Thanks for ur sweet comment!

Sandeepa: I too am used to making Aloo mutter gobi...not chole gobi but it was a nice combination.

Archana: its nice to see I am not the only food snob around.

Asha: Thanks.Photos.. same ol'.. a little bit more daylight on it, I guess.

Kalyn: i agree totally.. Never liked his show, but his book is good.

Lakshmi, welcome and do keep coming..Hope to see lots of comments from u.:)

menutoday: Wish i knew ur name, I don't like calling u menutoday!!!

Shaheen said...

Ki: Sure, i haven't forgotten ur request.. will give u this weekend.

Nabeela: yeah, if they americanise indian food, then they probably do the same to other cuisines. Thats why I like the blogging world so much.. I find it MUCH more authentic and clear!

Gattina:Blending ur own masala is so easy and tasty than buying..Thanks.. I do feel unless its a blog traditional recipe, every recipe needs a little customization.

indosungod said...

Shaheen cauliflower with chickpeas is a new combination and yours looks simply delicious, I don't blame you for being skeptical about few of the ingredients some of these chefs add.

Prabha said...

Wow! Gobi-chole is a combo that I am hearing for the first time. You have a great blog. Love your detailed recipes. Will frequent your blog regularly. Thank you so much!

prabha aka desimom

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