Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Cauliflower, Baby Potatoes, and Heirloom Tomatoes, Oh My!
I love vegetarian meals, hell, I love almost everything except mayonnaise which fortunately doesn't figure in Indian cooking. One of the greatest compliments I can get at home is when my husband says.."I'm a carnivore, but damn this is really really good. I could just eat this stuff." Of course "this stuff" is vegetables.
This is the time of year when all our local markets in Sonoma are flooded with all sorts of local produce. I know I'm lucky to live here, even though I complain about not being able to find bottle gourd and bitter melon like I used to in LA. There are plenty of Indian dishes I can make with what grows around here.
I was absolutely swept away by the tiny baby potatoes, heirloom tomatoes and cauliflower that I found at the Farmers Market the other day and I couldn't wait to use them.
Indian cuisine is filled with cauliflower and potato dishes. Most of them are very hearty and an entire meal can be built around them which is great for the pocketbook in these tight times.
Years ago I used to make a cauliflower dish from Lord Krishnas' Cuisine which is my desert island Indian cookbook.
Here's my adaptation of that recipe which incorporates all the goodies I'd tucked in my bag the other day at the market.
Cauliflower, Baby Potatoes, and Heirloom Tomatoes:
1.) stem, seed and julienne one long green Serrano chili
2.) Add to 1 Tbs of fresh ginger paste
3.) add 1 tsp. of cumin seeds and
4.) 1/2 tsp of brown mustard seeds
Chop 1 small cauliflower into florets
slice 5 baby unpeeled potatoes into rounds.
5.)Heat 3 Tbs of oil in a skillet or Kadai (Indian wok)
6.)When it's hot add in the chili and spice mixture. Stir it around until the mustard seeds start to pop. Just a minute or so.
7.) Add the cauliflower and potatoes. Stir fry them a few minutes til the veggies get a few dark spots.
8.) Quarter slice 2 small/medium sized heirloom tomatoes. Any color will do. I used red ones as that's what I had on hand. Yellow would make a lovely contrast, or red and yellow both.
9.) Also add 1/2 tsp of turmeric
10.) 2 tsps ground coriander
11.) 1/2 tsp. garam masala
12.)1 tsp of Jaggery (Indian Palm sugar) or regular light brown sugar.
13.) 1 1/4 tsp of salt
14.) A couple of Tbs of chopped fresh cilantro.
If you see your vegetables starting to stick to the pan, feel free to a Tbs or so of water just to keep things moist.
Mix all of this up. Stir it around well, cover your skillet and lower the heat.
Let it cook for about 20 minutes or so till your cauliflower and potatoes are tender.
Take the lid off, sprinkle a little more fresh cilantro over everything to your taste and serve.
This dish is a great accompaniment to any meat or fish dish. I served it with my Sardines.
One could also serve this with any Indian bread, a rice dish, some raita and have a whole meal. When a vegetable can make my carnivore husband happy. I know I've got a keeper.