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Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Indian Side Dish: Cauliflower with Fennel and Mustard Seeds

I usually focus on the main dishes in Indian cooking and forget about the sides, but this is a delicious side to go with the Chicken in a Sweet Red Pepper Sauce that I just posted about earlier this week. The bright yellow color goes great with the red sauce over the chicken. It's a veritable rainbow on a plate! The flavor of the cauliflower is pretty mild, even if it does call for a lot of spices.

Cauliflower with Fennel and Mustard Seeds
from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking

1 large head of cauliflower
7 Tbl vegetable oil
2 tsp whole fennel seeds
1 Tbl whole black mustard seeds (I usually use regular mustard seeds, and it tastes fine.)
1 Tbl finely minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4-1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
About 1 1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbl water

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, no longer than 2 inches in length and no wider than about an inch thick at the head. Put them in a bowl of cold water for at least 30 minutes. Drain them just before you get ready to cook.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium flam. When hot, put in the fennel and mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the garlic. Stir and fry until the garlic is lightly browned. Add the turmeric and cayenne. Stir once and quickly add the cauliflower, salt and about 4 tablespoons of water. Stir and cook on medium heat for 6-7 minutes or until the cauliflower is just done. It should retain its crispness and there should be no liquid left. If the water evaporates before the cauliflower is cooked to your satisfaction, add a little more.

(If your frying pan is smaller than 10-12 inches, the cauliflower will take longer to cook. It might be a good idea to cover it for about 5 minutes before letting the water evaporate.)

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