Sunday, April 29, 2012

Taking Advantage of A Spring Special. Cauliflower With Spring Onions and Black Mustard Seeds

   Some smart business person once told me that if one adds the number 99 to anything, it somehow makes it more desirable.  $5.99 rather than $6.00, $199.00 rather than $200.00, and of course everyone knows about 999. For me however, and for a lot of other people, the magic number is 99 cents. Personally, I have a hard time staying out of places called The Dollar Tree, Dollar City, etc. I just have to go look. If they re-named them the 99 Cent Tree, I'd probably move in. Nothing makes me happier than a good bargain, which is why I'm always scouting the Farmer's Markets and local shops for fresh seasonal bargains.

   It always amazes me how many people seem to miss the really good stuff. I'm talking about you, cauliflower. Right now, in many markets, cauliflowers' time has come. Cauliflower can be had plentifully and best of all cheap, cheap, cheap. When I was shopping at Sonoma Market the other day, I found cauliflower fresh and organic for 99 cents apiece. I'm not talking some small vegetable here. I'm talking about caullfower as big as my head, and whenever someone wants to sell me something edible as big as my head for under a dollar, I've got to take advantage.
   A lot of people's first experience of cauliflower (mine included) is not a happy one. It's of a pale, bland watery vegetable, smelling vaguely of cabbage and it always comes with a threat, such as "No TV tonight" if it's not all eaten, or some such thing. When I started cooking Indian food one of the first things I had to change my mind about was cauliflower, as the Indian kitchen is filled with recipes for cauliflower. I learned quickly that cauliflower cooked and seasoned properly is a whole other vegetable than I'd ever experienced.
   When I was looking for a cauliflower dish to round out an Indian company dinner the other night, I decided on a traditional recipe of cauliflower with scallions and black mustard seeds, but  after seeing another 99 cent special of beautiful spring onions, I couldn't resist giving it a bit of a twist.

Cauliflower With Spring Onions And Black Mustard Seed

Here's What You Need:

1 large cauliflower
2 bunches of spring onions (if you can't find them regular green onions are fine)
4 Tbs of vegetable oil
1/2 tsp of black mustard seeds
1 tsp of urad dal (if you don't have it that's fine, just leave it out)
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1 or 2 fresh green serrano chilies seeded and finely chopped or 1/4 tsp of Kashmiri chili or cayenne pepper
1 and 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
8 fresh or dried curry leaves torn in pieces (also optional)
Here's What To Do:

Separate the cauliflower into small florets, rinse and drain them and set them aside.

Take the spring onions, wash them and cut off the roots at the end. Slice the onions  into 1/2 inch slices using the white and green part both. Set them aside.

In a large skillet or kadhai, heat 3 Tbs of vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot, toss in 1/2 tsp of black mustard seeds.

When the seeds start to pop, add in the urad dal (if you're using it).
When the urad dal starts to turn brown, add in the turmeric, chilies and salt.

Next add in the onions.

Saute everything together for about half a minute, until the onions start to brown.

Then add the cauliflower.

Stir everything around so that the cauliflower and onions are well mixed and colored with the spices .
Add in 1/3 cup of hot water.
Turn the heat down to medium low, put a lid on the pan and cook everything for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender but still a bit crisp.
Take the lid off the pan and turn the heat up a bit to get any water that might still be in the pan to cook away.

The cauliflower should be lightly browned in places.
Stir in the last 1 Tbs of vegetable oil during this process.
Add in the torn curry leaves if you're using them.
Give everything another good turn, check the seasoning for salt and serve it up.

  It may have cost 99 cents, but this is a great dish that goes well with any American or Indian meal. The one thing I've learned about cooking cauliflower, and the secret to any cauliflower dish besides the spicing is always to remember to make sure it never turns wet and soggy.

I mentioned earlier that the good people at OXO have given me a 5 lb digital scale to share with someone. If you'd like a chance at winning the scale it's pretty easy.

Leave me a comment about what you'll do with this great digital scale from OXO
For extra chances:
Follow me on Twitter @kathygori
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Let me know in comments if you do any of these things.
The winner will be drawn by on Saturday May, 5th
Because of shipping issues unfortunately only residents of the USA are eligible for this contest.

Coming up next, Bunny Brulee comes to town and S'mores are never the same! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. Cauliflower is one my favorite vegetables... I could use the twist of adding spring onions to cauliflower stir fry... :)

  2. Funny how we all know this trick yet psychologically, we need the $.99! I love cauliflower and this is one of the best recipes!

  3. It looks so yummy. This vegetable is favorite of every vegetarian, in fact this is a chicken lolly pop for the vegetarian.

  4. I`ve tried this recipe and i`m really impressed, it has a very good taste. My both child tried it and they like it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.



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