Those who know me will be very aware that for the majority of my life i have had a crippling phobia of cauliflower. I have no idea when it started; apparently i used to be a fan of cauliflower cheese but one day i changed my mind and for reasons unknown developed a fear of the stuff and couldn’t bare to be anywhere near the stuff, let alone cook with it or eat it. Since attending a cookery class in India where the vegetable bhajis contained cauliflower and a formal dinner at work where cauliflower soup was the starter my tolerance of the stuff has improved – to the point where i can handle it being on the same dinner table but no more!
So imagine my surprise, let alone the surprise of Elix and Bex when yesterday i announced i was cooking a few curry recipes from my new book Prashad – Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Kaushy Patel – a potato and aubergine curry and a cauliflower and pea curry along with cumin rice, raita and homemade chapattis. Bex came for dinner and i knew this vegetarian Indian feast would be right up her street, plus, as it was Saturday i had the time to spend making a yummy meal. Both curries were delicious, packed with tonnes of flavour and super healthy. The aubergine one enjoyed more of a chilli kick from the chilli powder – i loved it but was advised by Elix that some yoghurt might be needed for those whose tastebuds don’t love spice as much. Bex is obviously as hardcore as as she said it was a tasty spice blend. The cauliflower and pea curry was the best curry i’ve made i think. There was no chilli powder kick to this and along with spices, the green chilli masala paste provided the heat which was perfectly paired with the sweetness popping through from the peas. One ingredient which I has never used before is asafetida – this smelly, yellow powder adds a savoury flavour to dishes and is often used in dhals.
Last time i attempted nann bread, I failed miserably and essentially produced pitta breads! This time my chapattis worked really well and i managed to get one of them to puff up nicely! All i did to make these was use 300g chapatti flour, 50ml sunflower oil and butter. Add the oil to the flour and 300ml boiling water and mix. Knead for a few minutes. Break the dough ball into 16 smaller balls and roll into circular discs. Place onto flat griddle or chapatti pans and heat on both sides until it puffs up – voila – done!
Now for the Pea and Cauliflower Curry recipe – designed to serve 4 :
100ml sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafetida
1 cauliflower cut into 1cm pieces
1tbsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
400g peas (i used frozen)
1 tomato finely chopped
1 handful coriander chopped
3 green chillis
5cm chopped fresh ginger
pinch of salt
Crush the chillies and ginger together with the salt using a pestle and mortar or a blender to make the masala paste.
Heat the oil and add the cumin and mustard seeds, when they start to pop, reduce the heat and add the asafetida.
Add the cauliflower and continue to heat at a medium temperature. Stir in the masala paste, turmeric, ground coriander, sugar, salt and 75ml boiling water. Cover the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes. Stir in the peas and tomato, cover again and cook for 3-5 minutes. Finally, sprinkle with coriander and serve.