Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Tale of Two Cauliflowers..The Cheap and The Pricey..Mildly Spicy With A Coconut Kick!

   In Cauliwood every Cauliflower has it's price. This is a tale of one of them.
   She sat there in the fading Marin sunshine. It was late afternoon and some wisps of fog whipped across the sky. She was all bright purple with a swirl of tight emerald leaves. A friend of ours, Mr. X we'll call him sidled up to her. He stared admiringly.
   "She's a real knock out isn't she?" a voice said.
   "Uh. yeah," Mr. X said, embarrassed to have been caught eyeing her.
   "She just got into town, there's not another one like her. She's special!" said the Farmer. "Why don't you take her home. Only 7 bucks"
  "Isn't that a lot for a cauliflower?"
   "You ever seen a purple one before?"
   Mr. X took a deep breath and reached for his wallet.
 Side note here: Mr. X is a very, very good friend of ours, a world traveler and a frequent guest at our table. He's always my marker for Indian food.  I am always asking "is this as good as your friends' wife makes in Trivandrum??"
     When he bought the 7 dollar cauliflower, he had me in mind. He brought it over to our house and made me close my eyes while he took it out of a bag and put it on the kitchen table.
   "Ever see anything like this before?!!"
    I pulled open the refrigerator door and took out the cauliflower that I had bought the same day from the guy down the road for 99 cents.
I hated to do it. But he had to learn. It's Cauliwood Mr. X, and they're all the same.
   So that's the origin of the 4 act Indian lunch. When someone gives you a 7 dollar cauliflower you HAVE to cook it, and cook it well.
   I decided to blend it with my 99 cent purple special to have enough cauliflower to go around. The great thing about this purple cauliflower is that unlike the blue/purple, non-green beans, this stuff kept its' brilliant color even after cooking. Under the knife it was gorgeous.
   I  have also been taking advantage of the container of Tropical Traditions Organic Shredded Coconut I was sent and I was eager to show it off. The purple cauliflower was the perfect background.
   The dish I had in mind was a simple Cauliflower Poriyal, done with chilies and mustard seed. This dish is great because it cooks up in about 10 minutes or so, leaving plenty of time to take care of all the other stuff. Here's how to do it:
     Wash, dry and cut 1 large or two small cauliflower into little florets..
   In a deep skillet or kadhai heat about 3 Tbs of coconut oil. When it's heated up toss in:
      1 tsp of black mustard seeds
      When the mustard seeds start to snap, crackle and pop add in:
     1 tsp of urad dal
      In a minute or so the dal will turn a nice reddish color. When that happens add in:
     2 whole dried red chilies
    6 hot whole fresh green chilies
      When the chilies start to turn a darker color, put in the lovely purple cauliflower.

   Give it a stir or two.
    Then add 3/4 tsp of salt and about 6 Tbs of water.
    Cover the pan, turn the heat down and let the magic work.
     Cook everything for about 5 minutes, see if the cauliflower is tender, take the lid off the pan and let any liquid cook off. We don't want soggy and purple, we want crisp and purple.
    When it's all nice and tender mix in:
  2 Tbs of shredded coconut.

      Big Old Warning!!
    DO NOT eat the whole chilies!!!! You may be tempted but don't. If someone insists they can handle it, you might want them to sign an affidavit first, and get out a fire hose.
   So there it is. When all was said and done the pricey mingled with the cheap and no one knew the difference....That's Cauliwood!
  If you'd like to score some of Tropical Traditions amazing Organic Shredded Coconut so that you can try this dish yourself, I'll be giving away a container just like the one they sent me to review. Check out my blog tomorrow for the rules on how to get this for yourself.


  1. I love purple cauliflower...and theses seasonings are great, really like the coconut and chilies together. Beautiful! Poor Mr. X :(

  2. @magic of spice,
    he's feeling he loves a bargain. Of course we rub it in..99 cents neener,neener,neener!

  3. What a great tale! And great flavor and way to add color to the table.

  4. Oh god, even out here in no mans land a purple cauliflower isn't 7.00. Looks very yummy!

  5. Hahaha that's so funny. $7!! I blogged about one I picked up for 99c at an Asian market--where I got an orange one yesterday.

    This is also a great way to make cauliflower--I'm going to try it out since I have the orange one in the fridge and those spices from a friend. Thanks!

  6. I want the purple one! not in season yet... duhh

  7. when ever I get a cauliflower my first thought is almost always indian food... your looks delicious!

  8. Loved the story! The Marin market used to be my favorite, but I haven't been in probably near 20 years. We will definitely have to keep this recipe in mind when I see one of these purple guys... I will check the price though, as I might have spent the $7 too. Can't wait to hear about the coconut tomorrow!

  9. Is it a cousin of Broccoli? Looks very interesting. May not get it here in India. Like the recipe.

  10. Ugh... I hate getting ripped off like that. But I can certainly understand being seduced by the color. Beautiful!

  11. That is bit expensive cauliflower. But the recipe is worth the price.

  12. That purple cauliflower is absolutely stunning. I hate to say it, but in my small corner of the world, $7 would be cheap for that. I love the way you cooked it too; making sure that the color still commands the show. Beautiful.

  13. I love that color! Looks delicious!

  14. Beautiful color and the addition of the coconut is magical!!

  15. Really wonderful story, Kathy. The dish you made sounds wonderful. I'm a big fan of Indian food so may be trying this recipe very soon.

  16. 'Cauliwood'! Love it! I'm trying this tomorrow and I SO can't wait! Thanks Kathy!

  17. i had to share this on fb...giggle...not only because of the story but because i LOVE you site header!



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