Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cauliflower Calling

My feelings about cauliflower are rather ambivalent. On the one hand, I think it is a very versatile veggie that lends itself marvelously to both Continental as well as Indian preparations, not to forget the ubiquitous Gobi Manchurian that you will find at virtually every Indian Chinese restaurant worth its MSG. On the other hand, I also find it quite a challenge to retain its delicate flavour and yet mask its strong (though not unpleasant) smell. Tough call indeed! This recipe that I’m sharing here calls for parboiling the cauliflower beforehand and mixing it into the final dish at the very end.

Kadai Cauliflower
(serves 6)


Cauliflower – 350 gms
Onions – 2 nos (finely chopped)
Ginger garlic paste – 2 heaped tbsp
Tomato – 1 no (finely chopped)
Red chilli – 1 no
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Mustard seeds – 2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Hing – 2 pinches
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp
Finely chopped coriander – for garnish

Mix to a thick paste (using water)
Turmeric pd – ¼ tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Red chilli pd – 1 tsp
Dhania jeera pd – 1 tsp
Sambhar pd– 1 tsp

1. Cut cauliflower into medium sized florets
2. Sprinkle a little salt and turmeric and boil cauliflower till semi cooked
3. Drain and keep aside. Retain water to adjust consistency of gravy
4. Heat oil, add mustard and jeera seeds
5. When they splutter, add hing and curry leaves
6. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 2-3 mins
7. Put in onions & red chilli and continue to cook till the raw smell disappears
8. Add the masala powder paste and cook till well mixed
9. Finally add tomatoes and salt
10. Add more water, if necessary, to get a thick gravy
11. Add cauliflower and cook till done
12. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Toast To Toffee

I have been meaning, for a long while, to write a piece on what a disaster my attempt at making sweets during Diwali turned out to be. While I will still leave that saga for another day, today’s post features condensed milk as the key ingredient. The reason for this is that I had bought a tin in the hope of making some kind of a barfi * (I don’t even remember which one now) for the festive season. Yesterday, while I was browsing in the fridge, I came across this tin and decided to use it up making milk toffee. This recipe is one of the most common ones to grace the platter of sweets in the vast majority of Indian Catholic homes at Christmas. I remember my mom making these toffees by the dozen and them being wolfed down by the kids in our apartment building. Of course, hers were much prettier to look at as they were moulded into these cute shapes that made them eye candy :) in addition to being a delicious treat!

* The Indian equivalent of fudge

P.S. The title for this piece was inspired by A, who added a touch of whimsy to the picture with the Bailey’s Irish Cream. Maybe the next time around, I’ll try flavouring these sweets with this delightful liqueur.

Condensed Milk Toffee
(makes 25 – 30 pieces)


Butter – 7 tbsp
Sugar – 15 tbsp
Condensed Milk – 1 tin


1. Heat the butter and sugar together on a low flame and stir till melted and well mixed.
2. Pour in the condensed milk and cook on a slow fire, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook till the mixture turns light brown and begins to leave the sides of the pan.
4. Turn onto a greased tray, and mark into squares.
5. Cool till it reaches room temperature and then cut into squares.
6. Store in the refrigerator, wrapped in foil.